I remember at the start of March the murmurings of the pandemic. I remember thinking this is all getting blown out of proportion. I remember thinking well this is becoming a bit inconvenient. What I wasn’t immediately thinking is, “wow this is going to be tragic for Bali”.
Looking back I should have…
I was headied to Bali, my wife and daughter were already there. People started to say aren’t you worried about traveling? Are you going to wear a mask? I was thinking that they were all crazy and need to toughen up. When I arrived in Bali, apart from a ‘health check’, everything seemed pretty normal. However, looking back now, Bali seemed a little quieter than normal. That didn’t stop the locals, they were upbeat and adamant that it is, “just a bit quiet, but everyone will back soon” they would say. Sadly that is not to be the case.
With Bali relying on tourism (80% of their economy) there was no denying the devastation this pandemic would have.The Balinese are resilient people, as despite every traumatic event that has been thrown at them, they always come out the other end with a lovely smile on their face The tragedies of the past have affected particular segments of their tourism economy and at particular times. This time it is different. With COVID-19 the Balinese economy evaporated overnight. Its immediate effect on those most vulnerable will be long lasting, and although the Indonesian Government has mentioned support, we all know ‘Bali time’ so it is taking some time to get organised.
I founded Crazy Bali Love at around the same time that the pandemic was taking ahold. It was not founded because of the pandemic but because I wanted in some way to help the beautiful people of Bali who give so much to so many. Little did I realise how important helping the Balinese was going to be. It goes without saying that, in all societies it will be the most vulnerable that will be the worst affected. Bali Is no different. So what can we do?
First and foremost if you can donate to any of the worthy causes that are providing food packs etc. to the families in Bali this will have an immediate impact. I am only going to single out one individual and that is Amanda Rialdi of the Facebook group, “Let’s help Bali (Covid19). I have been following what she and her team do on a daily basis and it is awe inspiring. Her facebook live videos take you right into the streets of Bali as they deliver the food parcels. Watching the Balinese children bounce around her as she walks the back streets to greet the families will bring tears to your eyes. Well mine anyway. Especially when you see the look of gratitude on the locals faces. It really brings the reality home.
There are many local business’s doing similar things all around the island. However, it is in the more remote areas of Bali where there are real problems with the infrastructure, which cannot support the communities. This is where organisations including The Bali Children’s Foundation are vital in the recovery process, as they have used their resources to feed up to 500 families in some of the most remote areas.
The fact that Bali will not be back to full tourism for a few years is a reality. It is a reality that will have long term effects. The way for Bali to continue to grow and prosper is through the education of its children. The pandemic has caused and will continue to cause more poverty through out the island. The Balinese see the future and want their children to go to school. However, the harsh reality is, senior schooling is too expensive for some. Getting the children back to school (which should be by all reports in July) is so very important. It is not just getting them back to school but helping them to stay in school that is vital. Again, The Bali Children’s Foundation is focussed on this as an immediate priority. They do not want to let all the hard work that has gone into setting up the education pathways for the children to fracture. If you are able to, you can donate to The Bali Children’s Foundation here.
Getting money back into the small businesses of Bali is how I can see us all contributing to the families of Bali. By purchasing products made in Bali by the Balinese will help feed the local communities and help the families keep their children at school for the long term. This was why I founded Crazy Bali Love as we only use Balinese Products so that the money gets back to Bali. Yes, obviously we need to support our own countries as well but if you are like me I am very concerned that the island we all love so much may not be the same as we remember unless we act now. That is why for the month of June all profits from Crazy Bali Love products are being donated to The Bali Children’s Foundation. I urge you to forward this to as many of your friends as you can. Please help us to help the Balinese.
Greg and Chris
Crazy Bali Love