Kate Walker reflects on lessons learned from Bali

I felt very at home in my first year in Yass.

That warm welcome and readiness to stop and share time made this place special. Years later, when part of a community group involved in the discussions on a new logo for Council, it was easy to select “the country, the people”.

Encapsulated in those few words was my experience of my town. Yass was then and is still, as I experience it, a friendly place; an ideal town to live in. Home!

I had had mixed feelings about a holiday in Bali. Close friends and family had glowingly spoken about the warmth, the vibrancy of the Balinese people.

Yet, the Sari Club bombing (2002) had marred my perception, and I was reluctant to visit any part of Indonesia.

What changed my mind? The cold! A break from the cold is always welcome! And a family member’s special birthday!

Yes, I did feel at home. Like the Yass community, the Balinese are a welcoming people. Without exception, the staff at the resort were effusive in their bubbling enthusiastic welcome. And outside of the potential artificiality of a resort, the Balinese were pleased to meet and welcome the stranger.

Bali is naturally beautiful and our resort was every bit the ideal paradise. It is easy to see why the island is so popular.

The negative of this is the plastic litter and lead petrol grime from too many vehicles. On closer analysis I realised that where people felt strong ownership their surroundings were well looked after but where a place was abandoned it collected refuse.

The Sari Club site is a good example. Its owner is not allowed to redevelop it as a night club. His asking price for the land is double the current value so those wishing to create a memorial on site are thwarted. Currently the land is used as a rubbish site.

Home again and happy to be out on a blue sky day, I took a brisk walk down Julian Place into Walker Place crossing over to pick up the path along Walker Park to Mont Street.

Heart drop! In spite of the width of the path, it is hard to dodge the dog dirt. And I thought, if it gets worse the path will be unusable.

Is this a sign that we are caring less about our place, our families? Is it a case of out of sight, it doesn’t matter? 

I do know that I don’t want to lose my home to rubbish, so I’m joining the war on waste and I hope you do too.

 – Kate Walker