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2023 Bali Women's Odyssey

Our journey to Bali, Indonesia, to explore the lives of Balinese women and discover intersections with resiliency and sustainability in our own lives was an incredible and eye-opening experience. Over the course of nine days, our team of seven Americans explored the rich tapestry of Balinese culture, met remarkable women, and forged connections with area NGO partners that will stay with us forever. Here's a recap of our journey:

Day 1: Arrival (Sunday, October 8)

We started our journey with a festive welcome dinner, where we got to know one another and set the tone for our immersive experience.

Day 2: Women & Service (Monday, October 9)

Our first full day started with an introduction to the Tumbuh Global odyssey method, setting the stage for the rest of our time together. We learned about Balinese etiquette both cultural and religiously. After breakfast, we visited the Bali Life Foundation, where we witnessed the dedication of Balinese women to supporting their communities by providing sewing workshops for single moms and under-employed women and a street kids prorgram for children who would otherwise not be able to attend public school. Next, we visited the Suwung Community Centre (SCC). Located at the largest trash dump on the island, SCC highlighted the resiliency of women in challenging environments. Evening reflections allowed us to process our initial impressions and begin to incorporate what we were learning into our lives back home.


Day 3: Women & Death (Tuesday, October 10)
This day, we each learned how to wear traditional Balinese sarongs and salindongs (wrap skirt and sash) in order to attend a cremation ceremony, upacara ngaben, for a grandmother in one of the neighboring communities. This was a profound and humbling experience to observe, much less participate in as foreigners. We witnessed the unique Balinese approach to death, emphasizing the importance of embracing life's transience, and providing the elements needed for reincarnation.

Day 4: Women & Food (Wednesday, October 11)
On day 4, we explored Balinese cuisine with an organic garden tour and cooking class just outside of Ubud. We learned about the sustainable practices embedded in traditional Balinese farming and culinary arts and learned how to make traditional village dishes the old fashioned way. After our hard work in the kitchen, we set down as a team to enjoy the fruits of our labor. After lunch, we enjoyed some shopping and free time at the Ubud Traditional Art Market and then a showing of the Legong Dance at the Ubud Palace before returning to our hotel.


Day 5: Women & Home (Thursday, October 12)
We took a closer look at Balinese homes and family life. A visit to a local family compound offered insights into the strong sense of community and tradition that Balinese women uphold. We even had the opportunity to create our own offerings, connecting us with the spiritual aspects of daily life.

Day 6: Women & Health (Friday, October 13)
Our visit to Bumi Sehat showcased the vital role of Balinese women in health and maternity. The tour and presentation by Bumi Sehat staff highlighted their incredible work in less invasive maternal and child health. This day inspired us to consider the importance of healthcare access and community support in our own lives.


Day 7: Women & Faith (Saturday, October 14)
On day 7, we headed back to Ubud centere in order to take part in a purification blessings at Pura Tirta Empul alongside our local guides Nyoman and Wayan. We spent this time reflecting on the spiritual resiliency and faith that plays such a central role in the lives of Balinese women. With Nyoman's guidance, we used the offerings we had created days earlier to pray and then entered the cool water (with alot of other faithful souls.) We then headed to lunch where we discussed our experience. Later that evening we took in a beautiful traditional dance performance near the sea.

Day 8: Free Day (Sunday, October 15)
A day to reflect, shop for souvenirs, and explore the beauty of Bali on your own.


Day 8: Women & Leadership (Monday, October 16)
Our final day of structured activities led us to the Coral Triangle Center, where we learned about marine conservation and leadership. This center, founded by Ibu Rili, inspired us to consider how women's leadership can drive sustainability efforts in our own communities. We took a tour of the new learning facility and ended our visit by splitting into two teams to take on the SOS From the Deep Escape Rooms. We ended the evening with a locally-caught fish dinner and drinks at our hotel before turning in for the evening.

Day 9: Departure (Tuesday, October 17)
Sadly, it was time to say goodbye on Tuesday. After some quality time by the pool, Travelers headed to the airport carrying the lessons, experiences, and connections from Bali back with them to the United States.


This cultural immersion trip to Bali expanded our global citizenship competencies in numerous ways. We learned about the importance of community, sustainability, resilience, spirituality, and leadership from Balinese women. These lessons are invaluable for fostering positive change and personal growth back in the States.

We encourage anyone interested in similar cultural immersions to embark on their own journeys of discovery. Bali has shown us that there is a world of wisdom and inspiration out there, waiting to be explored. As we return home, let's carry the spirit of Bali with us and work towards a more resilient and sustainable future for all.

Terima kasih, Bali – thank you for sharing your culture, your stories, and your incredible women with us.

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