Climbing a Bali Volcano…with a little extra help

 

Gunung Agung, Bali's highest volcano at 9,000 feet

Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest volcano at 9,000 feet

Most trekkers appeal to the Gods for support before climbing Gunung Agung, Bali’s 9,000 foot volcano.  Some of us also need chocolate.

Prayer at Pasar Agung, By Joseph Smith Mewha

Prayer at Pasar Agung, By Joseph Smith Mewha

The trip began at sunrise with prayer at Pasar Agung temple.  I said a few more than usual for my knees, legs, feet and lungs.

Sunrise: The Trek Begins

Sunrise: The Trek Begins

This is a volcano so there is no meandering or switchbacks or any other wimpy western trekking crutches.  The trail went straight up the damn mountain.  The trail began on a narrow path through the jungle which as we rose became less dense and eventually ended after about 2 hours.  The last hour and a half was a scramble over rocks and boulders until a final push of nearly straight up to the rim of volcano…which overlooked this very big, ugly caldera.

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We were eleven.  Joe, Alex and me from America (Max smartly stayed home with Bali Belly) and eight ashram members (Wyasa 1 and 2, Artha, Nengah, Adi, Kawenuh, Komang and Sugi).  Our Balinese friends were bundled up for freezing weather and wore an odd assortment of trekking gear.

Wayan Wyasa, wearing Nomad Bandit trekking gear

Wayan Wyasa, wearing Nomad Bandit trekking gear

Cowboy Nengah

Cowboy Adi

Kawenuh

Kawenuh

Sugi and Adi

Sugi and Adi

Alex, Joe and Kawenuh

Alex, Joe and Kawenuh

Sheik Komang on the mountain

Sheik Komang on the mountain

Also proud that our group picked up several bags of plastic garbage on the trail and recycled it.  Nengah, Kawenuh and Wyasa 1 won the prize for best recyclers.

Our final ascent to one of the holy places on the rim was delayed by a group offering prayers from a village in Karangasem.  Some of us waited our turn to pray.

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The caldera from the rim with incense for prayers

The caldera from the rim with incense for prayers

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Some walked over to the party place to celebrate reaching the top.

By Joe Smith Mewha

By Joe Smith Mewha

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Wyasa Perseda celebrating

Wyasa Perseda celebrating

Showoff

Showoff

Flaunting it at the top

Flaunting it at the top

Some just celebrated the fact it was over.

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Canti,

Pak Dave

Bali Eco Club’s Field Trip…Keeping Bali Beautiful

 

Eco Club Members from SMA1 Dawan (High School) at Temesi Recycling

Eco Club Members from SMA1 Dawan (High School) at Temesi Recycling

On a field trip last week to recycling centers and one of the island’s most eco-conscious businesses, 30 high-school kids from Dawan, their principal and teachers learned how their school’s recycling efforts fit into the larger picture of cleaning up plastic pollution to Keep Bali Beautiful.

And we had a lot of fun.

Eco Clubbers on the Bus

Eco Clubbers on the Bus

SMA1’s Eco Club just recently launched the school’s recycling program in partnership with Ashram Gandhi Puri.  The Club members are responsible for doing the recycling itself, and educating the school community why we need to beat plastic pollution and Keep Bali Beautiful.  

Our first stop was Temesi Recycling which takes our plastic, glass and paper garbage.  They then sell the high value materials to recyclers in Bali and ship the lower value waste to Surabaya where it is recycled into new products.

At Temesi Recycling

At Temesi Recycling

 

 

 

Separating plastic from household garbage at Temesi

Separating plastic from household garbage at Temesi

At our next stop, the team at Bali Recycling showed us their very efficient operations, and then took us to visit an illegal dump in Gianyar Regency which has filled up a river with garbage.  The kids were outraged at this illegal and institutionalized practice which is polluting the river and the land.

Illegal dump in Gianyar Regency

Illegal dump in a riverbed, Gianyar Regency

Our final stop was in Ubud where Yoga Barn co-founder Kadek Gunarta told us the story of how his business uses environmentally-conscious practices.  He also described the success story of how his village and its families and businesses have launched a comprehensive system to reduce waste, conserve energy and water and recycle.  It ended the day on a very positive note.

Eco Club Partners with Kadek Gunarta at Yoga Barn, Ubud.

Eco Club Partners with Kadek Gunarta at Yoga Barn, Ubud.

We all still have a lot to learn about how to be Eco Clubbers. But we’re convinced this will be a great learning experience for all concerned.  In fact, today SMA1 conducted a village wide clean-up day where Eco Clubbers led the way in picking up and recycling plastic and other waste.

The SMA1 Negara Dawan recycling program is a partnership between the school and Ashram Gandhi Puri.  Our other key partners are Ahimsa In Action which funds the project, Temesi Recycling who takes our separated waste and Yoga Barn which contributed our program’s recycling stations and storage shed at cost.

If you would like to help grow our Keep Bali Beautiful program, please consider a donation to Ahimsa In Action.  Your donation is tax-deductible in the USA.  Go to http://www.AhimsaInAction.com  and click support at the top right of the home page.

Our Principal, Kawenuh and Pak Dave

Our Principal, Kawenuh and Pak Dave

Lunch at Yoga Barn

Lunch at Yoga Barn

Sorting the garbage at Temesi

Sorting the garbage at Temesi

 

Keeping Bali Beautiful

Clean-Up with our Partners at SMA2 High School

Clean-Up Day with our Partners at SMA2 High School

 Plastic pollution is a huge problem in Bali.  It seems that every river, every beach, every village, every temple, and every household is becoming blighted by discarded bottles, bags and other plastic rubbish.

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Our first step was to clean up our own act.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  -Gandhi

At the ashram we decided that enough was enough.  We researched whether there are credible plastic recyclers on the island, and there are, and we put together a deal with them to pick up our plastic garbage.

It took some time for our ashram members to grasp the concept of recycling after a lifetime of simply throwing rubbish on the ground.  But after a couple of months they caught on and embraced it.

We knew there was a breakthrough when Kadek and Komang returned from a weekend trip to their village to tell us how much they hated the “plastic sampah,” littering their home, and what a shame it was that the villagers didn’t recycle.

We really knew we had made progress when Kawenuh talked his high school principal into starting a recycling program.  Kawenuh also took the lead in organizing an Eco Club at the school to operate the program and educate all of the students at the school.

SMA1 Eco Club

SMA1 Eco Club

We’ve now begun to expand our little recycling operation into more schools and hopefully our village of Pakse Bali. We’re hopeful of making progress, but our eyes are open to the many obstacles we will face….of which we will keep you posted.

If you’d like to help with our Bali Recycling Program, go to: Ahimsa In Action