Volunteer's Blog

How I took initiative and made a change

Volunteer Service

Denpasar, Bali, 1st of April to 30th June 2015 (By Victor Rizzo)

During these three months in Bali I had difficulties to find a good project to start. My first idea was to make a documentary about the local Pemangku (Hindu priest) and his family’s way of life. But after a while I decided against the idea. Also I had the idea of making a photo project about the wild dogs in Bali, but I also changed by mind, because I needed the project to involve young local people.


What I finally made was a stage play for children, played by children, which talks about the environmental issues in the rivers of Bali, also the story is delivered in the Balinese cultural style. This stage play was released at the TrashStock festival, which is a project of other volunteer from Act Global. The festival was all about the plastic issues that is destroying the natural beauty of this island.

To make this project, first I had to write the script. The creative process was easy, but in order to make it more Balinese I met Made Taro, a famous fairy tale writer of Bali. A local volunteer helped me to find his contact information and I then went to his house and I told him my story. He gave me really good advices about how I should manage the story telling. He is a really kind and calm old man. I’m glad I had this opportunity to meet a person like him, with his wisdom. The best part of this meeting was that he gave me the contact of a woman who is director of theatre and works with children too. Her name is Mas Roscita. I called her and we soon arranged a meeting in her sister’s restaurant. She was really kind and gave me a delicious Bali kopi (Balinese coffee). She barely spoke English, so I needed to explain a lot of things in Indonesian, which was difficult. But a friend of hers that knows better English helped us to communicate. I told her my idea and she said yes, “let’s make it”. Lucky me, she was waiting for an opportunity to make a stage play about environmental caring. So we set the time and what we had to do. The time was really short, not even a month. I wrote the script in English and I asked a local volunteer from Act Global to translate. His name is Mestiada Purwanta and is an English teacher. Without his help I wouldn’t have known whom to ask. I gave the translated script to Mas Roscita and I told her to change whatever she wanted to change of the story. I wanted to create this play together and make it more in a Balinese tradition style. She helped me a lot, as she made the dialogues funnier (my story was a little bit dark for a children).

11111794_872544226126226_4669676865429021673_nThe next step was to find the costumes and whatever else the play needed. We wanted to make clothes made by plastic, since the play was going to be released in this festival about reusing plastic. However within a few weeks I couldn’t find the way to make all this stuff, also I’m not good at handiwork. But I was lucky again, the organizer of TrashStock found in Instagram a girl that makes outfit out of plastic and used clothes. He gave me her contact and she was willing to do something like this for our play. The girl is from Solo (in Java) and the day after talking with her she took a plane to come to Bali. I was really surprised. She is a really good girl whose name is Retno Tan, but everyone call her Peanut. She is a professional Latin dancer, this was funny for me, since I am Spanish and she dances Pasodoble. She stayed one week in our house in Pemogan, where we the volunteers lived. When she arrive I picked her up in the airport and we started to plan what we had to do. We decided to do a workshop with the local volunteers about making clothes and accessories by plastic and used clothes, so we could use the stuff we made for the stage play.

Meanwhile, the rehearsals were going on. The actors were seven Balinese children that were having a lot of fun with the project. This is what I wanted after all, people to have fun in being creative while also giving a message to the world.

We made the workshops and people had fun making all the accessories. Peanut also helped with other projects within TrashStock and was really happy for it. It was great when the play was going on. Everyone did his/her job the best they could and I felt like I did something good with just an idea. I don’t think I did a lot of work, actually I didn’t. Everyone did something; I just put together people, which I discovered I am really good at. And now I have really good new friends because of that.

But this was not the only thing I have done in these three months as a volunteer. This was just my main project. Also I went to orphanages and schools with the other volunteers to play with them and to teach about European culture. I supported others volunteers projects with video making and editing. I improved my editing skills here. One of my videos has been projected in front of Bali journalists, thanks to the festival TrashStock.

I believe that this project has helped me a lot to improve as a person and to know what to do with my life starting now. All these new skills will help me to achieve whatever I want. I only need discipline and courage.

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