Broken Bali

Candi Dasa’s normally bustling streets are despairingly empty; locals are in a dark place.

BARBARA SABA is a WA psychologist/hypnotherapist who has spent a lot of time in the Balinese town of Candi Dasa where she runs retreats for her colleagues. But since Covid-19 Perth’s favourite ‘backyard’ has been off-limits to visitors, meaning locals are doing it extremely tough. In this week’s SPEAKER’S CORNER she shares an insight with what her friends back in Bali are going through – and puts out a call for a little help for those in great need.

I HAVE spent a lot of time over the last seven years in the Balinese seaside town of Candi Dasa, running professional development retreats for psychologists. 

A wonderful local man Jay Putu has always looked after us, working as a tour guide and in latter years as a driver. I have grown to know his family intimately and have helped them with education around business management, budgeting and basic IT skills.

Through this education, in 2015 Jay obtained a car loan to help him establish a driving business – he is the sole breadwinner for his family of 12 (including a number of children, his wife, sister and two sets of elderly parents).

But Covid-19 has taken away almost all his income and Jay and his family are only surviving because of handouts – and even then it’s only just. Jay’s extended family currently receives just 10kg of rice and 28 eggs per month – there’s no monetary support.

I have spoken with Jay may times this year and he has never asked for help – that was until two weeks ago. He told me his car was to be repossessed if he didn’t come up with four monthly payments in arrears ($1000 total); and the family was at risk of being evicted as they were behind four months in rent ($200 total). 

Repossession

I sent him funds to avoid repossession of his car and eviction of the family from their home, plus a small additional amount of money which has been used to purchase much needed extra food for his family. 

Jay has provided me with receipts for all the money I have sent him to date. 

But I wanted to do more, so I’ve set up a GoFundMe page to try and get an extra $2000 which will help Jay and his family make it through this year with a roof over their head, and hopefully in a strong position when the tourists finally return to Bali. 

I am seeking funds to pay out the loan for Jay’s car ($1400), cover the family’s rent until December 2020 ($200) and buy them some additional food ($400).

Jay is very grateful for the donations he’s received, and says he hopes to use any spare money to buy some live chickens he can hopefully breed to create a microbusiness.

I cannot help everyone in Bali, but if I can just help one family unit then I at least make some difference.

One of my Candi Dasa friends is Andre, who owns a spa in the town but had to close it in March and send his employees home when the country went into lockdown in March. 

Desperate

I contacted him this week and he described to me the desperate situation people Candi Dasa currently find themselves in. 

The $60 a month some people received at the beginning of the pandemic has dried up and many receive no assistance, most of the shops are closed.

Many people are trying to get back to the countryside hoping to find food and support in the villages, while children play in the rice fields because all the schools have closed.

Recently more of Andre’s family came from the village to live with him; luckily he owns a car he can sell to buy food, but when that runs out…

Just to show how grim things are in Bali, I was recently contacted by the Perth-based administrator of the Helping Hands Across the Hands Charity. They support the families who are forced to live at the Suwaung rubbish tip, giving them rice packages and a meal a week, but the number of people they’re helping has jumped from 450 before the pandemic to more than 1000.

Thanks for reading this article; you can contact me on 0415 536 580 or email me thesabas@westnet.com.au if you like any additional information.

To donate to Jay and his family, head to https://www. gofundme.com/f/emergency-relief-for-jay039s-family-in-bali

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