Archive for July, 2012

After spending my time in Bali’s tourist centre of Ubud it was a relief to arrive at Jiwa Damai. Upon descending the stairs into Jiwa’s dining area I was immediately overcome by the tranquil surroundings. Smells of frangipani and other flowers abound as do the vibrant colours that go with them; greens, yellows and pinks that one rarely finds outside of the tropics. Terry, one of the resident Woofers, showed me the expansive gardens and led me to a Lumbung situated in the heart of the organic garden.

Lumbung in the permaculture garden

As you can see by the photo a Lumbung is essentially a bamboo hut with no walls. Instead of walls a mosquito net hangs to offer some protection from those irritating, and often sleep-depriving, insects. It was so exciting to get to bunk out in nature, protected from the rain and insects but still able to feel the gentle and often cooling mountain breeze.

Sleeping in the Lumbung

I awoke the next morning early to the sounds of roosters off in the distance, running water from the river nearby and various birds up in the treetops. It was magical. Another of Jiwa’s local residents, Orchid, the cat, had snuck into the Lumbung the night before and was sleeping near my feet. Needless to say I welcomed my new friend.

Orchid, the Jiwa Damai house cat

Lying there I felt a deep sense of calm and an appreciation for the serenity that is Jiwa Damai. Of course, there was much work to be done, but it was nice to really take in the environment before starting the day!

Berish Bilander

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The permaculture garden at Jiwa Damai features a plant nursery. This area is sheltered by a roof to protect the seeds from the heavy tropical rains.

Plant nursery at Jiwa Damai

One challenge we have is to raise the little seeds, grow them into small plants,  that can then be planted into the grounds.

The ideal thing would be to grow the seeds in biodegradable pots. On Bali, unfortunately there are no biodegradable pots available. So once more we had to be inventive and develop our own devices: We use cut banana leaves, which are  folded into the shape of a pot.

Preparing the seeds

This technique is working very well. The seeds develop beautifully. Once big enough they are planted in the organic garden.

ready to be planted…

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A special highlight at our first week volunteering here at Jiwa Damai was an invitation from the staff  to attend two temple ceremonies.

We left here late afternoon with 2 cars, but in order to attend we had to dress in traditional Balinese clothes.  Our guide for the evening and the President of Lagu Damai Foundation, Wira, brought sarongs, udengs (headpiece for men), ribbons and a blouse for us to dress in.  Finally, Astri picked some beautiful flowers that we wore behind our ears; now looking a bit more like the locals, we were ready.

Intaba and Daniel with Balinese hosts, dressed and ready to go

After a good hour drive we arrived at the first temple, Pura Ulun Danu Batur, the main sukas and water temple in Bali.  Out of our car windows we could see myriads of people with offerings on their way to the temple.

Locals making their way to bring offerings to the temple

We walked through a stunning carved gate to find ourselves in a big courtyard where a band was playing music.  A group of mostly older men performed a warrior dance with symbolic spears.

Traditional Balinese dancer inside the temple

It appeared we were the only foreigners that were welcomed to the inner- temple, which we can attribute to our Balinese friends.

Once inside we watched as offerings were presented to the Gods.  We kept a small box made out of banana leaves containing flowers and incense in front of us.

Various offerings presented throughout the ceremony

Sitting on the floor we meditated for brief periods throughout the ceremony.  At the end of the ceremony we took some rice out of a silver bowl, put it on our forehead and then ate a bit.  Afterwards, we were blessed with sacred water.  The sun had already set while leaving the temple and the full moon came up behind Mount Agung; the scenery was just breath-taking.

We set off to the second temple ceremony at the Mother Temple of Besakih.  The Besakih Temple is the largest and most important temple in Bali and is at the base of Mount Agung.  We had the honor of experiencing a second ceremony there as well before heading back.

Beautiful Mt. Agung with moon rising up as we were leaving

We were very tired after the adventure and slept in our car seats the whole way back to Jiwa Damai.

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