My latest writing job is doing environmental features for Insight Magazine – its a great mag and am really proud to write for them, it also creates some interesting work assignments. This is the soul surf project Bali, a Dutch foundation that works with orphanages here on the island. First the kids are given environmental classes and have to take part in beach clean ups. Armed with greater awareness of the environment and their impact on it, the kids are rewarded with surf lessons and the chance to participate in surf competitions, turtle releases and art workshops.
I spend the morning on the beach with a group of kids, its their first surf lesson and they are pretty excited and there is lots of laughter and splashing about. The girls are shy at first but are soon riding waves with as much enthusiasm as the boys; everyone encourages each other. Marieke, the project manager and I watch from the shallows, she tells me “Surfing provides the orphans with an escape from their normal routine and creates a sense of accomplishment, of yes I can do this.” One of the boys whizzes past us, catching a wave right to the shore and we all cheer as he does a little victory dance.