So here we are in Bali! If you have ever heard of it then the image that will most likely come to your mind is that of Hindu temples, rice fields, turquoise water and sand beaches – an ultimate destination for your honeymoon, they say. And all of that is true, but let’s add some reality to this picture of a beautiful paradise … When you look about in the areas around the capital, you get a feeling that this little island has been privatized for and by white people: the traffic is becoming more and more chaotic by the day with tourists adding a lot to the already existing chaos; tourists are everywhere, Australians being the worst with unlimited drinking and disrespectful behaviour, expats enjoying splendid living conditions available on a small budget, there are a couple of those who try to make a difference… For those interested in tourist advice – read next time 🙂 Let’s talk about M.A.D. first!
We decided to “sacrifice” our first week in Bali for planning our up coming weeks in Indonesia, doing research (lonely planet guide, rough guide, art magazines, Internet resources and couch surfing advice), contacting professionals and solving practical issues such as phone, internet, food, budget, rent or not to rent a motorbike and also just to chill for a little while! For our base we chose an ecological farm that would satisfy our thirst for making a difference and that would also help us to keep up with our humble budget (we would work few hours per day for a free accommodation). It turned out to be “Fucking Amaaaazing” (with an American accent) – as our host would say in between the other million things she would also be saying. I can bet she would win the competition of “who can fit the most words in in one minute” if there would be such. She is a perpetum mobile and a stand-up comedian type of person that deserves to have a book written about her – a former striptease dancer, who has seen hot and cold, black and white, is currently building her home out of cob, using only natural materials, that is – clay, sand, water, straw and bamboo. Also a lot of recycled materials – like alcohol bottles.
Being part of building up ZUF ecological farm gave a lot of insight in to how simple it can be to live sustainably – the cob house, if built properly, is perfect for any climate, it can survive seismic activities and the rainy season is not a big deal (just have a big roof). And who decided that a house and its rooms have to be square? When cobbing a wall, the more curvaceous it is, the more stable it becomes! It gives so much space for your creative imagination… Square rooms with four corners? No way are we going to live in such a house! Arches, bottle mosaics, niches and other crazy ideas, that distantly brings to mind something that Gaudi made in Spain. And you know what? After two hours of dancing in the cob mix, next day you feel so much stronger to walk longer distances – it is a perfect workout, community builder and a foot massage with natural elements…
After a week of cob dancing we are ready to move on with our project. Never mind the intricate details of our stay at Zahara Urban Farm as we can recognise that the art of COB isn’t exactly related to what our project is about – however the basic principle of cob and all its possibilities did make a difference, it gives us new ideas for the future, and of course, people that we meet make the biggest difference!