Trouble in Paradise by Ian Lloyd Neubauer
Category - News
‘Blood-red sunsets that take your breath away. Colourful Hindu ceremonies. Buzzing nightlife. These images are typical of the memories of the 1.1 million Australians who holiday in Bali every year.
But Bali in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic is a different place. The once-popular beach hubs of Kuta and Seminyak are ghost towns and the gnarled traffic is no more.
The island is more peaceful than it has been in decades but it’s come at a terrible price: More than 50,000 tourism and hospitality workers have been laid off or sent on unpaid leave.
With an average monthly income of only $289 and few social-welfare benefits available in Bali, the impact on many of these newly unemployed and their families has been nothing less than devastating. Many don’t have money to buy food.
“I really need a job, any kind of job, such as cleaning houses or gardening. I will do anything. My family are starving,” reads one of hundreds of similar posts on Facebook pages for expats in Bali.
Some of the estimated 3000 Australians remaining in Bali, including chefs and restaurateurs, are answering those calls by turning their venues into free food banks – frontline charities that are feeding thousands every day.
In Seminyak, Australian restaurateur Josh Herdman had to close Sea Circus, a famous cafe with colourful murals that has been trading since 2010. But he refuses to heed the Australian government’s counsel to go home.
“This is my home. I love these people,” he says. “If the ship is going down, I feel I should go with it.”
Mr Herdman and his Balinese staff are working double-time to steady that ship.
“If you have poor nutrition, your immune system is weak and you’re more at risk from COVID-19,” he says. “So I started the Sea Circus Food Fund [https://seacircus-bali.com/] to raise money to make nutritious meals with meat, chicken, fish and eggs.
“On our first day, we gave out 400 meals. Today is our second day and we’re going to feed 600-800 people. But we have the capacity at Sea Circus to feed up to 3000 people a day – if people back home continue to support us.” ‘
If you’d like to make a donation you can through gofundme or paypal – all the details can be found on our website [https://seacircus-bali.com/].
Read whole article: https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/travel/2020/04/25/coronavirus-bali-food/