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Sam Wilding Bali Visit – Part 3

Sam Wilding Day 3 – A Window On Another World

Today has to be my favorite day yet. We visited another school at Pengalusan (pronounced pbungalucen) and chatted with the children, who were busy doing maths and art. Their teachers were very keen that they got to see the art produced by the children in Scotland, and were very excited to show us what they were working on here too. These are some of the brilliant pictures created while we were there. They were particularly fascinated by our highland cows, which are quite different from the indigenous Bali cow, a beast that is still central to the wealth and prosperity of local families, and to me, very much like an antelope or some kind of deer.

As we were leaving we were invited into the actual Pengalusan village. Behind the school on a very steep slope the village houses were so close together that they practically formed the one big, interwoven community. It was wonderful to see the different generations all sitting together, weaving bamboo baskets, eating lunch and chatting. Everyone had their door open and we were introduced to the community leader. We chatted, as best we could, and drank some kopi (coffee) sitting in his porch. Before we wound our way down the narrow lanes, back to the school, we were stopped by an old lady who offered us some freshly cooked Eddoe, a type of yam, a bit like a sweet potato. The friendliness and sense of community was overwhelming. Inside the gubuk, the cooker, bed and sitting area are all very close together. We were told how the introduction of chimneys and even separate sleeping quarters has saved many children from losing their lives to asthma and chest complications.

The visit to the village really made me think. It felt like I was stepping into another world, one that still had charm, trust and an openness so sadly missing in our towns and cities today, but a world still evolving, eventually destined to join the rest of us on the same hectic road to the future. I wonder if they will retain their culture and somehow balance the wonderful advances against the possible excesses and fixations that dominate our world?

Features and Creatures

Feature – a warung

Before we got back to the headquarters, we stopped for some lunch at a warung, which is a very small street-side take away. Typically you pick from a selection of dishes all plated up behind a glass screen. Then the owner lifts the selected food out, by hand, into a sheet of thick paper or banana leaf, which he or she folds into a packet ready to be opened up and eaten with your fingers. Although I was initially put off by the tactile elements to all this I have to say that it tasted absolutely wonderful. And to actually feel your food before you eat it adds an extra dimension to dining in my book.

Creature – The Balinese Wildcat

After showing some children a picture of a Scottish wildcat, I was told about the existence of a Balinese Wildcat, which, going by the description, “bigger than your wildcat, more spotty, bigger legs, less hair and about up to just above your knee,” may well be a Leopard Cat.
Nocturnal, they hunt on the ground and in the trees. Mainly rodents, birds, insects and fish. I haven’t found a picture of one but here’s how a leopard cat sounds………

Today’s phrase is
Selamat Siang which means ‘Hello’, between 11am and 3pm.
Selamat means happyness.

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