Archive for June, 2012

These are the new rooms, that we recently built here at Jiwa Damai.

Our new rooms at Jiwa Damai

The rooms are quite basic, with a beautiful stone floor and lots of light.

New room

Come by yourself and check it out !

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When I arrived at Jiwa Damai the pressing issue of a lack of infrastructure to manage the large amounts of waste now being produced here in Bali, was quickly brought to the forefront.  My initial exposure to this was on my first beach walk from Legian to Seminyak when I noted trash scattered beneath my feet.  I was informed here that common practices of disposing trash include dumping it into the rivers or local waterways, burning the trash (plastics included releasing toxic chemicals into the air) or simply creating a trash pile in the backyard.  Each of these methods have both environmental and personal health implications that will surely grow worse as production here tries to keep up with mass amounts of visitors like myself.

In an effort to begin addressing this issue, our host here at Jiwa Damai has begun a program to educate locals in the village of Mambal on the hazards of the current methods utilized for trash disposal.  As well, the volunteers and interns here at Jiwa maintain a weekly schedule of picking up trash from the river that runs through this beautiful property.

Kristin McMaster and Daniel Schweizer getting ready to pick up trash in the river

Kristin McMaster picking up trash, the bag filled up quickly

Like many systemic problems, this one will take time and collaborative efforts to resolve.   For me, it was important to be exposed to a place like Jiwa where I could become a participant in the solution rather than just taking a backseat, as is easy to do when you are just a visitor.

Collection of bags from previous trips along the riverbeds

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Recently a very special event took place at Jiwa Damai – the birth of a healthy boy.

Our volunteers Miquela and Terry, staying here for 4 months already, are the happy parents. Seems like her child wanted to be born here at Jiwa Damai.

pregnant Miquela

The birth took place in the Health Room with the big bathtub. The parents wanted an underwater birth. The birth was accompanied by the now famous Ibu Robin midwife of Bali and her assistant. Robin Lim received the annual CNN Heroes for 2011 price for her teaching and practice of Gentle Birthing methods. Read more about Robin Lim at

In this type of birth, the child remains for a while underwater before being taken onto the breast by the mother. The placenta remains attached until it dries out by itself and drops off, until about 2 -3 days after.

As you can see, the mother and baby are in best shape possible.

The happy mother with her newborn son

Congratulations and all the best to the little family!

Jiwa Damai feels blessed and honored to have welcomed this soul.

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