Kaylee Blog 2

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Connected is the word that instantly came to mind while we were sitting around the fire under the giant bamboo “dome” hut at East Bali Immersion (EBI) and Bruce asked us to think of one word that came to mind reflecting our time at EBI. It came to me instantly. EBI is a camp on the side of a mountain, with the active Volcano Agung constantly in view. The huts are all made out of bamboo, swings and hammocks are scattered all over, a soccer field and volleyball court are placed on a plateau, and there are the best cashews I have had in my life. The beauty of EBI is that it is located near the East Bali Cashews social enterprise factory, where they process $80 million in revenue a year from various cashew products, for example AMAZING granola. EBC employs 85% women from east Bali in their factory while sourcing their products from local farmers. In addition, the factory has a preschool attached that gives students a free health checkup every month, nutritious meals, and an education. This preschool also allows a safe place for children to go while their mothers or fathers may be working. Finally, EBC uses green energy through burning cashew shells as fuel and a water filter system to ensure no wastewater. This incredible social enterprise was my favourite organisation we’ve been to, the way it is able to holistically address so many places for improvement in the village with one brilliant model is inspiring.

It’s easy to see why I fell in love with EBC as a social enterprise model, but EBI was an experience that surpassed only a wonderfully constructed enterprise. The atmosphere that this camp created through its nature-like structures and minimal lights and noise made me feel not only closer to the earth but more connected to everyone I came with. We all spent hours under the stars, in awe of the fact there was more stars than we have ever been able to see, or maybe ever would again. Marshmallows ( and bali bread) were roasted over the fire while someone was likely playing guitar or ukulele in the background. We played quite a few volleyball and soccer games, the Balinese staff versus the American tourists and I can’t unbiasedly state who won the majority of games. In Bali, they say that “Time is not money, time is relationships,” and this really resonated with me here at EBI. As we were all at EBI and our bonds grew stronger, I realised how important it is to create lasting bonds with those around you and it will be the most valuable thing you have.

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