Ok the title sounds bad. It’s not quite that bad I promise.
Today we observed some of the volunteers working in Bali who finish this week. We observed one session with children during the session they were completing art therapy activities. We shadowed the session and joined in by supporting and motivating individuals and having a go at the art projects ourselves.
Just a few Bali facts to get to the point.
- Bali is predominantly a Hindu country
- (just to explain the picture I’ve used. Offerings are put out by shops/families/restaurants/hotels etc for the Gods. These will often be a palm leaf container filled with flowers and sometimes an item for the Gods e.g. a cracker, another type of food, a cigarette etc) it is amazing to see, beautiful in fact, and often a major trip hazard.
- The head is sacred and the feet are considered dirty
- Education is really valued here by families, communities and students
- The left hand is never used. Use the right hand to shake hands, pass objects etc. (This is because individuals here do not use toilet paper, instead they use water to wash themselves. The left hand is used to assist this. Therefore the left hand is considered dirty. Left to wash, right to eat.
After sessions with the children they are very thankful and every child will say thank you to the volunteers by taking their hand and putting it to their face or forehead- this is a sign of respect and thanks.
I accidentally made the mistake of passing my left hand to a child- to which he stopped and made a disgusted face at me, shook his head and took my right hand to his head! I won’t be doing that again!!
It was in this giving of thanks that I was quite taken aback and surrounded by children and couldn’t find the right position for my hand. Some children were quite forceful with the movement since they had many volunteers to get through and they got knuckles to the head… it must have bloody hurt! something for me to work on there..