A Note From Janice Carson…..

In June of 2010 I had the pleasure of being accompanied by two good friends, Julie and Mala, on my annual trip to Bali.  They have both supported the Ganesha Foundation from its inception in 2005 and I was particularly excited to show them the progress that has been made over the past four years.

Upon our arrival in Ubud we immediately began to prepare for my favorite activity.  Every year we assemble and distribute “goodie bags” for the children of the village.  The goodie bags are brightly wrapped packets that include basic hygiene products along with more fanciful items such as plastic barrettes or balloons. Once the “goodie bags” and supplies were ready we set out for Darmji in the Eastern part of Bali.

Visiting the remote village of Darmji is always an adventure and Julie and Mala were a bit nervous embarking on the rough track and steep climb up the mountain. Darmaji is located in the saddle between the peaks of two volcanoes, only accessible by motorbike, on foot or four-wheel drive vehicle. After a forty-five minute climb up the mountain we arrived at Darmji village, a small hamlet of 110 families. Upon our arrival we were treated to the sight of the pristine little school completed just two years ago. It is quite modern contrasted with the simple huts of the village.  As we peeked into the various classrooms we listened as the children recited their lessons and wrote on the chalkboards.  It was obvious the kids were enjoying learning and proud of their achievements. I was amazed as I leafed through many of their workbooks to see the beautiful and carefully done handwriting filling the pages. These were children that until four years ago had never written a word. Many are now bilingual and able to speak not only their native Balinese language, but also Bahasah Indonesian, the national language, and even some English.  The first group enrolled in school in 2005 have now completed their primary education and passed their compulsory government test. They are now starting work on their secondary education. Additional teachers have been brought in for these children and the curriculum has been expanded.

Once class was finished we handed out the bags of school supplies, toiletries, games and goodies to the excited children. They lined up to accept their prize and each said, “Thank you very much” in perfect English! Seeing the excitement in the faces of the kids when they receive these simple gifts is one of the highlights of the trip. They are luxuries that are hard to come by in this poor village. I have so much hope for these bright kids that have excelled under such harsh circumstances!

After the packages were distributed we followed the children up the hill to where lunch was being prepared.  Their lunch consisted of rice, chicken, vegetables from their organic garden, tofu with peanut sauce and a glass of milk. It warmed our hearts to see them eat with such gusto.  Little piglets ran around begging like puppies, to add even more color to the scenario! These nutritious lunches are a necessary treat for children who live in a village where a proper source of protein and fresh vegetables are uncommon.

After lunch it was time to leave Darmaji for the trek down the mountain. Many of the parents came over to shake our hands and thank us for the opportunities we have given their children.  We in turn take this opportunity to thank our friends and supporters on behalf of the families and children of Darmaji. Without your help our work would not be possible.

Janice H. Carson
Vice president, The Ganesha Foundation

Click HERE for the 2009 update
Click HERE for the 2008 update
Click HERE for the 2007 update