A volunteer mission with sustainable impact

The building adjacent to our guesthouse in Bali is owned by a local church.  From afar, its majestic columns and polished tile stand in stark contrast to the rice fields that surround most of the island’s interior.  Much like Bali itself though, there are constant reminders that this is purely aesthetic.  Small rodents call this building home, and share the space with roaches and a family of birds, who disappear into the light fixtures each night. This duality is essentially why we chose Bali as our project location. 

The island has a veneer, beyond which few tourists will ever see.  Places like Kuta and Seminyak are full of newlyweds, surfers, and retirees.  They have fine dining and every comfort normally reserved for the first world.  These places, while extremely important to the island economy, are the reason why so few people consider Bali as a place worthy of development projects such as ours.  Indonesia Tourism has done a remarkable job of promoting their paradise, and given that it’s their only export, it’s probably the responsible thing to do in the short term. We’ve been staying in a town called Kapal, and it’s not the type of place you’ll find on TripAdvisor.  The locals work tirelessly.  Some pull 14+ hour days in the posh hotels, while the less fortunate work even longer hours in the brutal heat of the rice fields.

After just two weeks of working alongside some of the most caring and intelligent people I’ve ever met, I now view this ‘duality’ as being tremendously flawed.  Duality, in its philosophical context, might be best represented by a string and a tree branch.  Separately, they don’t serve a huge pupose.  When combined though, they form a powerful weapon that historically, has had the ability to create empires.  The flaw with Bali’s duality is that their ‘bow’ isn’t properly sustainable, nor is it powerful enough to support the nearly 4 million inhabitants of the island.

We’ve seen and done some amazing things in our short time in Bali.  Our team is incredibly proud of what has been accomplished.  It’s not that we flew in and simply handed out technology.  We’ve rewritten processes, established new efficiencies and left a sustainable solution in place that will create opportunities for Bali’s children.  This is the ‘why’ behind our being in the tech industry, and represents the absolute best of what we can do as an organization.

About Tim Taylor

Tim is an Enterprise Account Executive with Softchoice and a member of the Softchoice Cares Board.