A Day in the Life of a Development Together Volunteer
In November, Development Together Staff Members, Natasha and Lachlan were on vacation in Bali, Indonesia and they took a day out of their holiday to see what a day in the life of a Development Volunteer might be like. They also got to assess the impact that past volunteers have had on our partner site, the Bali Appropriate Technology Institute (BATI) and the surrounding community in Kelecung.
BATI is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) based in the Tabanan Regency in Bali. Founded by Mr Rus Alit, they seek to create innovative, accessible and cost-effective water collection, filtration and storage systems for drinking, sanitation and irrigation purposes. They have also developed examples of hydro and solar power stations, simple hydraulic ram pumps to move water, generation of bio-fuel from coconut waste and other simple technologies. Examples of these solutions can be found on the grounds of the BATI training facility where people from all over the world, come to participate in a week long Sustainable and Renewable Energies Workshop which Rus runs on a regular basis.
The day started early, when we met our driver and translator, Nathan. Getting to BATI is about a 2 hour drive from Denpasar. On a map, it might not look that far, however Bali traffic is always gridlocked until after you get out of the urban centres. When we arrived at BATI, we were given a tour of the various technologies that they have developed. First off, we were shown the ‘Rus pump’, named after its inventor Rus Alit, which uses water pressure to pump water. Rainwater is collected from the gutters of the buildings on site, is passed through a series of filters and is deposited into the water tanks. These tanks make it easier for communities to collect safe drinking water, and the ‘Rus pump’ makes it a lot easier to access.
We were able to have a look at a number of other projects that BATI has worked on, including sand water filters, recycled water showers and pressurised water pumps. We were also shown what looked like a large swimming pool, but it was actually a pool of recycled water that is used to irrigate the entire BATI grounds and keep them looking lush and green all year round!
Running through BATI is a stream which was turned into a small-scale dam. This dam was created in order to produce hydro-electricity to surrounding villages, but also acts as an irrigation system for the surrounding rice fields, which has allowed the rice crops to flourish and provides not only food to the local villagers, and but also a source of income.
After this, we had a traditional Balinese lunch, consisting of local fruits and vegetables, ayam goreng (fried chicken) and a spicy kepapa (coconut) salad. Indonesia is definitely a great place to visit for a food lover. The local cuisine is diverse, cheap and always tasty! Some other Indonesian dishes to try include nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles), babi guling, rendang and nasi lemak.
After lunch, we visited the Puspaya Homestay, where we got to meet members of the local community, including the namesake – Mr Puspaya! Development Together Volunteers have stayed here in the past while they assisted with constructing an underground water storage tank for a local school. We were lucky enough to visit this school to learn firsthand what the impact of this water tank has had on the students and teachers. Previously, the bathrooms were unsanitary, as there was not sufficient water in the dry season to flush the toilets, or for students to wash their hands. However, the new water tank designed and constructed by Development Together Volunteers allows toilets to be flushed after each use, as well as providing water for them to wash their hands, and this has benefited the entire school community.
Finally, we were able to visit an animal sanctuary run by local resident, Bunda. She takes in unwanted and unwell animals to care for, including over 60 dogs! This sanctuary also doubles as an extracurricular centre where local students can spend some time to help with their schooling.
After this day was over, we were sad to be leaving, as we had both developed a much greater appreciation for the work that not only Development Together and their volunteers undertake, but also the work undertaken by BATI, and the contribution made by local community members when we are partnering with them. However, we are happy to know that next week Development Together will be sending another team of volunteers to Bali, and they will continue to do so in the years to come. We know that this will contribute to positive community development in the Kelecung Region.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Indonesia, check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/indonesia/ or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/