27th September

After a first good night in Bali, we wake up around 8, ready to do our first visit. We will go to the Green School. It’s located 20km North West of Refi’s house. It takes us 1h30 to go there. The road conditions confirm what we saw yesterday: there are many more scooters than cars. Although the drivers seem not to respect the driving rules, we don’t feel we risk our life every minute. The best way to move yourself is to do like everyone else: forget you’re scared, trust that the others will react correctly, and most of all make yourself predictable.

P1010851 - low

During two thirds of the route, we seem to be in the same city. With big traffic (especially in scooters), air pollution (we are wearing the masks today), and buildings on both sides of the road. We see a lot of small hindu temples on the way. Like every 200 m, there is a construction, richly decorated in sculpture of hindu Gods. Finally, the last part is more quiet, with some vegetation around.

We arrive at the Green School around 12h, and the visit time is at 14h45. So we look for a place to eat. We find a small restaurant which serves you a plate of rice with some pork for 10 000 rupiah (less than 1€)… not so bad. After eating, we talk with a Balinese Niuman. He teaches us the basic words in Indonesian. He was a monitor for rafting, and now he works in the Green Camp program, attached to the Green School. He is eager to meet from all over the world, and bring them at his house, so that his daughters learn English. He tells us that in Indonesia, it’s pretty easy to get a driving license, you can have it for 30 US$.

The Green School (http://www.greenschool.org/) is very young: the project started 7 years ago, in the mind of John Hardy (see his conference on TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hardy_my_green_school_dream.html). He wanted a school in the jungle with high standards of teaching, but insisting on the respect of the planet and the hosting region, and searching for sustainability. Our guide for the tour is Charris Ford, an American who arrived in Bali a few months ago in order to put his children in the school, and who finally got a job in the school. We are around 50 tourists visiting the school today.

P1010875 - low

The school has this year around 330 children, coming from 50 different countries, and with level from 1st grade to 12th grade. With professors from all around the world (the director gets several hundreds of applications for teacher per year!) the classes are given in English, with also classes of Indonesian. The goal is to teach the normal syllabus, but adding a strong component of sustainability. There a many gardens between the buildings, to produce organic food for the school, and also to teach the children the importance and our relation to the Earth.

The school tuition fee is around 10 000 US$, which makes it a normal price for Western countries private school. However, it results very expensive for local people, so, grants have been created to help Balinese enter the school. Visiting the school is free, but we are invited to donate. Our donation will fund the grants allowing local people to enter the school, and so thank the Balinese for hosting the school. This year, around 10% of the children are Balinese, with grant, but the goal of the founders is to arrive to 20%. During the afternoon, when children are not in the school, the school��s football pitch is open so that local children can enjoy the installations.

P1010889 - low

P1010879 - low

All the buildings of the school are in bamboo, a local abundant material. The bamboo is treated with borax, to prevent the insect to come, and it is supposed to last 25-30 years. Two technics are used for the roof: some roofs are made of bamboo slices, but the majority are made of a local herb Ylang Ylang. This herb is gathered and fixed on bamboo sticks, and it offers a good resistance to the strong showers of Bali. The design and construction is done by the company PT Bamboo. A special care has been taken as for the aspect of the buildings, with many curves, very harmonious. The school counts among the most advanced constructions in bamboo in the world. There are many aspects that intend to make the school green:

  • The parents and most of all the teachers are eager to make the difference, to aim at sustainability.
  • After the school started, other projects came in its orbit, such as organic café, organic restaurant, !
  • A big part of the food is organic food directly produced by the school
  • The school produces up to 70% of its electricity thanks to solar panels, and will soon produce more than needed with a new kind of turbine on the nearby river.
  • The school uses recycled products.
  • The school waste is recycled, and soon will be sorted and organised to facilitate its reuse by local people.
  • The buildings are adapted to the floor, with the least modifications possible.

As you can see, the classrooms do not have walls. Instead of distracting children from the black board, it has a positive effect, the “Green School” effect. When the children see the blue sky, feel the wind, hear the water flowing and the birds twitting, they are much more calm and eager to learn.

P1010901 - low

P1010905 - low

P1010898 - low

The visit ends with the “Heart of the School”, a building with three interleaved spirals of roof, which is the biggest bamboo building in the world. This impressive building shows in its bamboo pillars the names of the generous donators.

After the visit, we return quickly to Denpasar in order to arrive before the night. Tonight, we go to eat in a small restaurant with Refi, Hana and Nidal, near the house.

Some food we ate: bakwan: kind of donut based on flour, with carrots / vegetable and then fried. Typical from Indonesia and easy to do.