Around the time of the 10th Anniversary of the Sari Nightclub Bombings, I travelled over to Bali with my boyfriend and his 32938 surfboards (apparently all necessary).
Upon arriving in Denpasar International Airport I felt a mixture of excitement and anxiety.
After all, we’d just touched town in a country famous for more than good surf and beautiful people; we were right in the heart of a country that had been crippled by terrorism.
Later that night after we’d found our hotel, washed the dirt off and collected ourselves we caught a taxi into the nightclub precinct, right in the heart of Kuta. Across from the remains of the bombed Sari club (now just a dirt car park is the Bali Bombing memorial. So many names of American’s, Australians’s and Balinese people.
Seeing the monument in person made the previously inconceivable death and suffering really hit home for the first time.
But the turmoil didn’t end after the survivors were pulled from the burning buildings; or after the funeral’s of the departed.
The sadness and hardship continues in Bali to this day.
During our time in Bali we got to know a lot of the locals. One of my favourites was Roy (I think he lied about his name).
Roy was our driver for the majority of our time in Bali. He lives on the outskirts of Kuta in a small shack with his wife, who was heavily pregnant at the time, and his 4 kids.
They all cram into this little hut together, sleeping on rough concrete floors, living on less than $5 Australian a week. And Roy and his family are some of the lucky ones.
Kids as young as 3 are on the streets working, trying to make money to feed their families. Roy told as that since the bombings, tourism in Bali has, as you’d expect, bottomed out. While it’s starting to recover now, it’s been a rough 10 years for the Balinese; so heavily reliant on the tourism industry.
Roy told of friends of his that had committed suicide, unable to look after their families, or turned to lives of crime.
But despite all this heartache and suffering, the thing that struck me most about the people of Bali was there resilience
Always smiling, always friendly, always working to find the good. Despite everything they’d been through they we’re still some of the most beautifully natured people I’ve ever come across. They’re staying positive and working to rebuild their lives, and are risen to the challenge with dignity and grace. It was an honour to spend time with these people, and I’d encourage everyone to get over to Bali and do the same.
It’s a truly life changing experience.