An Uplifting Experience – Through Western Eyes! (Pengalaman Menggembirakan – Melalui Mata Barat!)


Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes. That I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts (Paramahansa Yoganda, Indian Leader – 1893 – 1952).

The year is progressing quickly and our Rotary Club Bali, Nusa Dua is busy working on its current and new charitable projects. These include but are not restricted to: Cleft Palate and Lip; HIV/AIDS; Yasan Kasih Anak Kanker; Yayasan Puspadi Bali; Suryani Institute; End Polio Now; Bali Children Foundation and Secondary School Scholarships.

One sunny morning, when it has finally stopped raining, I think back to a memorable event: The Rotary Club Bali, Nusa Dua/Grand Hyatt Bali Annual Orphanage Christmas Party, 2017.

The Grand Hyatt Ballroom is superbly decorated with sparkling Xmas trees. Long tables covered with black, red and white tablecloths are arranged neatly across the room. The staff of the Grand Hyatt, Bali have obviously been busy for some time. Goodie bags for the children were donated by our Rotary Club Bali, Nusa Dua. Fellow Rotarians are busy picking up the children from orphanages. Approximately 350 children aged between 5 and 15 years of age, from orphanages and various handicapped organisations, attend the Orphange Party.

As we enter the venue I expect to see large crowds of noisy children playing outside, as one may see at home in Australia, but I am wrong. Throughout the whole afternoon and evening, the children are focused on various activities and in providing entertainment to the audience. In the foyer to the ballroom, a large number of children are being photographed with three Santa Clauses, scattered within the group. I have never seen more than one Santa Claus at an event before!

Tears fill my eyes and my heart does a flip at the sight before me. I smile back at the children, not just then but throughout the whole evening. I look up at my fellow Rotarians standing next to me. They too, are smiling. I keep thinking about rich smiles and sad hearts.

Other children are busy in the several rooms running off the ballroom, making gingerbread men and playing games. Many children are dressed in various traditional costumes and uniforms. Later in the day whilst eating our meal, the children entertain us with singing and dancing, often combined with traditional instruments like the Angklung. Their performances which reflect much practice, are remarkable, despite any disabilities.

Although most are, not all of the children are orphans, a fellow Rotarian explains. Some have only one parent who could not look after them. There is one long table with about 30 children and a sign: “Mt Agung Refugees.” I remember western tourists complaining about flight changes and delays. I wonder if any thought about the effect that the disruptive Mt Agung has had on the children and their parents?

I feel proud to be a Rotarian then. I wish I could do more. On behalf of our Rotary Club Bali, Nusa Dua, thank you to our fellow Rotarians. A bigger thankyou to the Grand Hyatt, Bali for their huge contribution to the event. Last but not least, a great big thank you and hug to all the children who attended the 2017 RCBND/Grand Hyatt Orphanage Christmas Party.

For any of the children who may read this article or have it read to them, remember always what the great Indonesian writer Pramoeyda Toer wrote, from his prison cell on the small island of Buru:


You can create new conditions and a different

reality. Everything that is worthwhile can be

inspired by dreams and imagination.

I am sure all of you have plenty of it!


Readers are welcome to attend our Rotary lunch meetings (Thursdays 1-2 pm). Please check out our Rotary Bali Club, Nusa Dua web-site for more information about our projects and events:

Please note our next major event: Charity Gala Evening – 25th Anniversary of Rotary Club Bali, Nusa Dua will be held at the Hilton Bali Resort, Graha Paruman Ballroom on Saturday, 21st April, 2018. Come along to celebrate the occasion with us and enjoy great food, entertainment, raffles and prizes.


Christine Velde, Writer and Rotarian on behalf of

Edward Naus, President, Rotary Club Bali, Nusa Dua.


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