Heat of the Moment

From a distance, most people assume these wonderful dancers manage to maintain their intensity without breaking a sweat. A zoom lens tells another side of the story. (view the larger size in flickr by clicking on the image)

Christmas night,
Ubud, Bali

By the way – this was my girl’s dance instructor (she took lessons for 2 hours a day / 2 weeks) – and this dance was performed for 40 minutes straight – unbelievable endurance!

Canon 350D – 70-200mm @ 200mm

Off to Bali!

Yet again, I’m off to the island of Bali. It feels as if it’s becoming a bit of a third ‘home’ in some sense. I’ll be there for three weeks, so my posting may be rather sporadic for a while. I’ll still be checking email and posting (hopefully) a few times a week.

I really hope to focus on capturing even more of this magical island and its vibrant culture through the lens. Wish me luck!

And in response to Carl’s request of more posts related to my ‘personal life’ – I’ll make it a New Year’s resolution to satisfy your curiosity! I have a few surprises up my sleeve, and on that note, I’ll leave you in suspense. 😉

Giving Back to the Community

As I mentioned last week, I�d like to get involved in helping out by giving back to a local orphanage. There are millions of Indonesians living in sheer poverty in conditions most Westerners cannot begin to fathom � where do you start?

I�ve decided that if I can focus on helping one particular orphanage, I can help make a difference without facing the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed by a large charity organization. I support their efforts, but would prefer to start on a personal level, rather than simply donating money to a charity.

A bit of history � a few weeks ago, I was out taking photos on the streets of Jakarta when a young guy approached me. As foreigners are regularly approached by locals hoping to practice their English, I assumed that was his purpose. It turns out he was searching for a young autistic girl who had wandered away from an orphanage. At first, I�ll admit I was a bit skeptical � unsure if I was being asked to help �donate� money or something else to a cause I was completely unknown to. It�s natural to be a bit cautious while out on your own here � you never really know people�s intentions.

It turns out he was one of the good guys. From my broken Indonesian and his basic English, I managed to grasp that he was a university student, studying computer science and volunteering at a local orphanage. He invited me back to the community, unfortunately I had to get home, but gave him my email address and told him I promised I�d stop by soon.

About 10 days ago I decided to take him up on the offer of dropping by. So with some help of my Indonesian friends, I purchased some rice and eggs to bring to the orphanage. After a harrowing drive through the narrowest of streets, we found the place. Immediately we were welcomed inside with smiles and greetings. The community consists of around 100 children and a couple of families, all living together. The majority of the children are orphans; the others being from disadvantaged families, or with learning disabilities. The ages range from newborn to teenagers. The community also serves as soup kitchen for the homeless.

There is a wonderful courtyard that serves as a playground / park area surrounded by the dormitory, classrooms, and facilities. They have an outdoor swimming pool, and some other basic activity areas. I�ll provide photos as soon as I download them from my handphone. All in all, it was a clean and friendly environment for the children, and a place where compassion was evident in all aspects. Edit: Just found a photo gallery on their website. See it here, listed under “Foto Gallery”.

After touring the grounds, I asked what areas they need the most assistance with. I was shown to their �computer lab� � which consisted of 6 or 7 pieces of equipment that once upon a time may have resembled a computer, but are now non-working save for one. Their printers don�t work, and I believe the fastest working computer (in the administration office) was only a Pentium II. Since technology is a bit of my specialty, my mind started churning with some ideas of how to help them.

As great as it felt to donate some food to the orphanage, I realize it�s simply not enough. They�re in need of regular contributions on a larger scale than I can provide on my own. As I said, I feel that you have to start somewhere � so I�ve decided to make this particular cause my focus.

A few ideas I�ve started working on:

� Collecting food and clothing donations from the expat community
� Selling prints of my work to purchase items for the orphanage
� Finding older but working computers for their lab � local businesses?
� Utilizing the readers of this blog for help, ideas, contributions, or collaborations

I�m completely open to suggestions and creative ways of giving back to community. If anyone is interested in visiting or contacting the orphanage, I�ll gladly post their contact information and directions. I think it�d be great to pool our resources to help these children in any way possible.

Edit: Here’s the contact info:

Yayasan Amal Mulia
Proyek Pelayanan Penyantunan

Jl. Mesjid Al-Mubarok No. 16, Cipulir
Jakarta, Indonesia 12230
Tel: 62.21.723.9778

Contact the secretary at:
Dani Dharyani
Tel: 0812.932.7187
Email: danidharyani@hotmail.com

Bank Account (for donations)
Bank BNI – 0015022994

Lippo Bank Melawai – 50230402822

Usually travel agencies are able to assemble exemplary air travel deals, complete with reservations at the orlando hotel rooms as well. The hotel reservations are also a part of discount travel and you can also get a travel advisor who can explain to you in detail about the way we charge.

Gettin Poked

That sounded bad. Sorry.

Today I got jabbed with a needle twice – once for the flu vaccine and once for a typhoid update. A doctor from Global Doctors was kind enough to come to work to offer vaccines for whoever wanted them. I know what you’re thinking – the flu vaccine has nothing to do with protecting against avian flu. True, however, I’ve heard from a number of ‘professionals’ (in a calm, yet warning tone) that if you’ve had the flu vaccine and come down with flu-like symptoms, you’re much more likely to be diagnosed properly and quickly against the avian flu – and more likely to receive Tamiflu quickly. If this isn’t true, or wouldn’t in fact be the case – what do I have to lose? (other than $25)

She then asked if I’ve had a typhoid shot recently, and it’s been over 3 years, so I did that one as well – literally didn’t even feel the needle. They must be coming up with smaller and smaller needles all the time. Which reminds me of this article about doctors needing longer needles for the increase in obese arses in the world.

It’s funny how the world changes so drastically – one year ago, I’d never have considered getting a flu shot – now our entire experience in Indonesia could be cut short by a potential pandemic. Never thought I’d have to worry about that. We’ve been through terrorist bombings, the massive Asian tsunami and earthquakes, more terrorist bombings, embassy warnings, and yet none of it was enough to persuade expats from leaving. It’d be ironic if the final blow simply came from a tiny organism smaller than this period.

Kabar Magazine – My Submissions

There’s a new magazine in town called “Kabar” – geared towards the English speaking residents of Indonesia, but not necessarily expats. I’ve been in contact with the editor, a very cool cat named Avi, and have contributed some material for this month’s issue. If you happen to see the magazine around (bookstores, cafes, hotels, fitness clubs?), you may recognize the cover – the blue warung boards I shot a few weeks ago. Inside, there’s an article with photos that I submitted as well.

If anyone has seen the magazine, drop me a line! (I haven’t seen the new issue yet).

On another note, I spent the day yesterday formulating some ways to help a local orphanage. I may need some help brainstorming a plan, but I think it could be a wonderful way for us to ‘give back’. More on this later today or tomorrow.