Kathryn Schlesinger has been a regular on this blog for quite some time.
Her husband Michael, sometimes known as Rambler 1959, (after the amazing vintage car he drives) is also a follower of the blog.
I met them both on this past trip to the US, and they were incredibly generous and welcoming. For me, the highlight of our time with them was when they took me to The Wedge – a very famous surfing beach, mainly for bodyboarders, because of the unique nature of the wave.
I grew up as a surfer on the Gold Coast, in southern Queensland, (Burleigh was my haunt, as was Kirra and Currumbin) and I remember seeing amazing pictures and surfing movies of The Wedge. So it was wonderful to see it for real after all these years.
Thank you once again Michael and Kathryn for a glorious day.
Kathryn at that stage was in early preparations for a trip to Bali, where she does regular charity work. I asked her if she’d be interested in doing a guest blog – even though it’s off topic of the Camino – but irrespective I thought it might be interesting.
(My current Indian trip is way off topic!)
So here is her post –
Strange how one thing leads to the next!
My husband and I are doing the Camino Frances in Stages. Even after our first short stage, the Camino magic changed our lives forever! And because one thing leads to the next, we started following Camino blogs, keeping the memories alive and our knowledge of the Camino growing. That is how we first came to know and love Bill and some of you! We have since done a 2nd stage and are dreaming of our 3rd.
Now, because one thing leads to the next, Bill invited me to share on his blog about another trip that changed our lives forever.
Six years ago Michael and I visited Bali for our 25th anniversary. I was post recovery from breast cancer and wanted a special place to get away from it all, to relax and feel healthy. It was a perfect choice. It was exotic, tropical, exciting – chaos in some places, but peaceful in most and all culturally new!
I fell in love with the people that were kind, calm and helpful. I was inspired by how their spirituality was continually exhibited in their daily living.
Again one thing leads to the next and the following year I found myself searching the Internet for a “service” trip that my young adult, surfer sons could do together. I found an organization that fit their time and talents in Bali but schedules changed and the boys could no longer get the same time off.
However I was hooked on the idea now. Luckily, I was able to get my little sister to go with me and could arrange to have my 2 younger children arrive with my husband a week later to help us.
Our destination was a beautiful village in a simple and remote lush area of Bali (3 hours from the flashy tourists in the south) The scent of cloves filled the air. (Both clove and coffee are the primary crops and income of the area, along with the rice that grows in the beautiful terraces on the hills.) We brought art projects to make and songs to teach, a lot of toothbrushes and suitcases full of school supplies.
It was a soul touching experience, both busy and joyful. Before leaving we learned that many children were not able to attend school because they could not pay for the uniforms, the fees, books and supplies. We offered to help 4 kids for the next year.
And as I said, one thing leads to the next!
Since then many friends have joined our efforts and now we have 48 students receiving ongoing sponsorship so they can attend school. ($120 a year covers all the school expenses and provides each student with a filled backpack )
Since then, we have returned annually, bringing art, songs and teaching oral hygiene. We bring all sponsored students backpacks full of helpful items and give them a party where we take a new picture to give to the sponsor.
We have been able to do teacher trainings, purchase storybooks for 7 schools, built playground equipment and opened a new kindergarten.
The next thing that your one thing leads to is wonderful and commendable. Bill told me all about you two when he visited with Jill and me after leaving you and Michael. You and Bill make me realize how small my world is. Maybe I will expand it or maybe just improve it. 🙂
Thank you for the beautiful and supportive comments, we were gone camping and I was unable to respond when this came out on the blog. I appreciate all your thoughts. We are starting a website and can keep everyone posted on our progress soon. A little goes so far in Bali and that has made it possible to do more than we could here! Kathryn
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Wonderful, we all have so much to give. And if we all did, the world would be a much better place!
Thank you for this wonderful post.
Yes, Arlene each of us changes the world in some way everyday! Its nice when it can be definitive for a few weeks a year, like in Bali. The rest of the year we have to wake up and be inspired in the space we live to make that same kind of effort. You may have to join us in Bali some time! Kathryn
I agree with Steve and Arlene. Dale and I do need to expand and improve our world. Giving back should be a way of life for all.
Kathryn, your post has given me some food for thought. So many things have entered my daily world lately saying “get involved” or “share” or give back”. I need to quit thinking and start being involved. Thank you for the boost.
Love those Bali kids and its all for them. We are starting a website and we hope that you follow our progress there. I am sure that you touch many people in your life. Join our efforts if you like, its so helpful a little makes such a difference there. Kathryn
Very touching and inspiring. Continued blessings on your journey still to unfold. Light and Love Ingrid
Thanks for the kind words of support! Kathryn
Kathryn, you have provided me with a whole new perspective on Bali, a place I have never wanted to visit. Congratulations on your wonderful contribution.
It is in giving that we receive. This an amazing achievement. Well done and keep going. So many now rely on you and your colleagues.
I am involved with a few organisations but nothing compared to what you do. Am just starting out with involvement in a project for girls in Timor Leste.
Bali has been wonderful, certainly changed a lot in 6 years though. Your project in Timor sounds wonderful! Kathryn