First Post: Chase

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

June 21, 2019

These first couple weeks in Bali have been like a dream. Just the other day I climbed to the top of a mountain and watched the sunset. Those few minutes felt like days, and since I’ve been here, days have felt like minutes. When I was signing up for this trip, I really had no clue what to expect. Being a finance major, I have never taken a SIE course and hardly had an idea of what the subject was about. Since the program has started, I’ve learned so much about social entrepreneurships and enterprises through an experience-based approach. Almost every day we’ve visited a non-profit or social enterprise and talked with the person that started it all (if that person is available). Here’s a list of some of the places we’ve been to so far: The PKP Women’s Center, Threads for Life, The Fair Future Foundation, Bumi Sehat, The R.O.L.E Foundation, and a Coral Reef Restoration Project. Coming from a business background, I’ve found it really interesting to see the different businesses models that these different organizations operate under. For example, Threads of Life is a social enterprise, which means at least 25% of their funding comes from a product that they sell. In this case, they sell tapestries made from remote villages in order to preserve the beautiful tradition of weaving. On the other hand, Bumi Sehat, a natural-birthing center, relies entirely on donations. It was also fascinating to see the externalities associated with solving a social problem. In the case of Threads for Life, the founders sought to address the problem of extreme poverty and injustice that women weavers face in order to prolong their traditions. They succeeded in this endeavor by purchasing their works at a fair price, however, as the weavers began making more money, they would pay for their children to go to school instead of teaching them the traditions that Threads for Life has worked so hard to preserve. Obviously, I was happy for the weavers, but I couldn’t help but wonder if by trying to save the tradition, Threads of Life had accelerated its inevitable demise. That’s the other thing that I’ve learned here: life is inexplicably complex. There are so many variables going into every seemingly simple problem that it is easy to get overwhelmed. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far from this program, it’s that you just have to take it one step at a time. Figure out the problem you want to address and embrace all of its layers. Because it’s true, life goes by fast, and if you spend all of your time worrying about things outside of your control, you just might miss it. I surely know that I would’ve missed this incredible opportunity to live and learn about Bali.

- Chase

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