May 23, 2018


Commitment works miracles, over time. Ask the 700 families living in Muntigunung on north Bali’s drought-prone mountain slopes, where eight months every year with no rain or other natural water sources make it challenging to survive.

The Muntigunung Social Enterprise, formed by Daniel Elber and other big-hearted expats several years ago, has gradually built a sustainable water supply for most of the villages, with 80% now having access to toilets, and 80% government registered for access to health services.

The villages are far from any tourism – and most of the malnourished villagers only speak a local dialect. In the past, the only possible income opportunity was travelling south and silently begging on the streets of tourism areas. Now more than 230 people have a sustainable job and income through a range of programs – from excellent walking tours to several handicraft and food production businesses.

Some of the village women produce baskets from lontar leaves, using an attractive mix of this totally natural product with computerized embroidery or laser printing. Support them by ordering these, and delicious cashews, rosella products and local dried fruit, and exquisite and durable woven hammocks, available for sale on their website;



Whether you are tourist or expat, an unexpected tumble is not an uncommon occurrence on the pot-holed streets of Ubud.

So good news from one such, whose x-ray revealed a hairline fracture on a badly sprained wrist and fingers that wouldn’t move. The wrist was swollen and painful when she consulted Pak Nyoman at Iman Spa, who applied half an hour of gentle treatment followed by a poultice of stag horn fern leaf. Within a few hours the swelling had subsided, pain was much reduced and she could make a fist and move her fingers.

Needless to say, she “highly recommends this lovely man for pains, sprains or joint problems of any kind. He’s a master body worker who incorporates energy healing and has a good understanding of traditional herbal therapies.” Address: 63X, Jalan Sri Wedari. Phone: 0361 971049.



Ubud continues to grow richer with the sacred sound healing programs that fit so well with this spiritual island. This month the Yoga Barn launches a Crystal Bowls sunset meditation with Shervin Boloorian; a perfect way to end the week, at 5.30 pm every Friday.

The Yoga Barn’s tranquil spaces also offer the perfect setting for special Bali Healing Collective events, such as the Sufi Sacred Sound and Movement event, at 6.30pm on May 31, which will feature Shervin and several other resident musicians with visiting special guests. More info at

Find the Collective’s acclaimed sacred world music albums, “Spirit Night By Candlelight” and “One with the Beloved” on ITunes, Spotify, Amazon and Bandcamp.

The Healing Music Collective is planning its next European Tour in September-October – I think it’s their fourth year now – with various venues already confirmed in Switzerland, the UK and Holland. They’ll also be traveling to the Canary Islands, Spain and other parts of Europe. Check for tour updates.



 Ubud’s internationally acclaimed environmental non-profit is celebrating the success of a sanitation project in the almost inaccessible villages of Kawangu and Watumbaka villages in East Sumba.

With open defecation still the only option for many remote villages, the building of 12 public toilets by Yayasan IDEP has made healthy sanitation possible for these villagers.

Sponsored by tobacco PT HM Sampoerna through its Collaborative Habitat Advancement Management Program, the toilets were officially handed over to the villages in a big public event attended by all villagers and special guests on April 19.

While in Ubud, you can visit the IDEP Foundation Site and Training Centre in Banjar Medahan, Desa Kemenuh, Sukawati; why not join staff and volunteers for IDEP’s free Garden Day, every Friday from 8.30-11.00am?

More info: 0361 908 2983, or



Tourists have always headed to Jalan Raya Mas – it used to be the main road up to Ubud from the airport – to check out the modern and traditional art at several excellent art galleries. My sister and I will always remember the full-sized wood carving of the wiry-muscled fisherman casting his net. A master carver had taken two years to create him from one piece of wood, and I swear we could see that fishing net still rippling as he cast it out along a horizontal plane!

Tony Raka Gallery has always been a stop to recommend, with a constant procession of innovative exhibitions. Now he’s added a great little restaurant, with stunning décor, good staff, and food that’s more sophisticated than most Balinese-run tourist places.

For example, apart from the unexpectedly delicious coffee, a friend says her vegetarian panini was the best sandwich she’s had in several years in Bali, “complex flavours and not sweet”, served with crisp, delicious French fries and sides of good mustard and gherkins.

Open 7 days till 5pm. Jl. Raya Mas in Kedewatan (near a big bend). Phone 0361 781 6785.



If you’ve ever considered studying permaculture, clear your diary for June 22-July 7, when Australian expert Nick Ritar, comes to Bali.

Course participants in his long-awaited Permaculture Design Course will stay at Kul Kul Farm in brand new, solar powered bamboo yurts and learn the skills they need to create permaculture designs for both home and special projects.

They will meet Balinese farmers, learning how to grow food, build up soil, raise animals and harvest rainwater sustainably – in fact, all the permaculture skills necessary to build a resilient community.

Kul Kul Farm began only three years ago just walking distance from Green School, in Abiansemal, south of Ubud. They offer tours, short courses and workshops in bamboo building and permaculture, all bursting with practical knowledge and skills to help transform homes, communities and lives.

Find Kul Kul Farm on google maps; entrance is via Green School security gate. More info on Facebook.