This past week, we were able to get our project finished. Talking to the kids about what they wanted the future to look like, many of them said that they wanted a cleaner Bali. But then we would see them throw trash on the ground or in a stream. There was just no connection between their actions and the concept of a “Clean Bali.”
So last week we started our beach cleaning initiative. During our time in English class,we talked about environmental initiatives and how the kids can make an impact in their daily lives. One class was soon chanting: “Environment! Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!” We discussed not getting a plastic bag at the grocery store and refilling reusable water bottles. The kids came up with their own ways to make an impact. We felt like it was important to try to instill them with passion because any big change that is to be made on this island will have to come from the locals. And in my humble opinion, these kids will be some of the ones to do it.
On Wednesday and Thursday, instead of holding class, we took the kids down to the beach to clean up. Clearly, kids will be kids and there was some wrangling to be done but for the most part, they were invested and down to roll up their sleeves and do some work. Laughter abounded as we worked our way down the beach, filling bags and bags with trash. Everything from styrofoam to flip flops was dumped unceremoniously into the garbage bags and then loaded into a trailer to be taken off.
Chatting with a tourist from Australia, he thanked Slukat for cleaning and said that it looked 100 times better. The plan is for the kids to do the next cleanup in three months and at regular intervals from then. It’s not a huge difference but it’s something. And hopefully it will be a shift in their mind sets more than anything.
Tomorrow is our last day in Bali and at Slukat. For most of us, the feelings are bittersweet. The students have found very real places in our hearts and they will be missed terribly. However, everyone is excited to go home and eat some familiar food and snuggle our pets. Looking back on our time, we have had a really sensational experience. The laughter and smiles were frequent, as was the sharing of knowledge. Our time in Indonesia has been beautiful and we would like to thank each and every person who got us here. Terima kasi! See you soon!