At Green School Bali, we are a ‘community of learners making our world sustainable’ – this is our Mission. This means everyone at Green School learns together, solves problems together, and celebrates life together – students, teachers, parents, the campus staff, and definitely our gardeners. Ibu Indra is an integral member of our community at Green School Bali, where we provide nature-based learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, and where our gardens are places of REAL connections to nature and REAL learningSal Gordon, Head of Teaching and Learning
Ibu Indra spends her days lovingly planting and nurturing permaculture gardens at the Green School campus in Bali. Each day, she says she checks on the health of ‘her babies’, pruning, prepping, watering and taking out the weeds that are stealing nutrients from the soil.
Inserting bamboo sticks into the earth to support the tomato and cucumber plants, Ibu Indra smiles brightly. “I feel joy when I see my baby growing healthy, and sadness when a plant is not doing well. I check the soil and water and evaluate all the choices I have made for it. Harvesting a vegetable you have grown with so much love and care is very different from buying it from a market,” she says.
Her days often begin with a visit to the Green School kitchen where she finds out what fresh ingredients the cooks require from her garden that day. From eggplant to basil, she harvests produce on the day it will be cooked so that the community always has fresh, organic ingredients from the garden for lunch. Every second Friday, she prepares flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can be sold at the school’s farmers’ market.
Her days are busy. When she’s not at the Green School, Ibu Indra is harvesting Champak (Magnolia Champaca) along with her husband, which they sell in the local market. The demand for Champak flowers increases during holy days and full moon ceremonies, when the Balinese people pray and make offerings of fruit, food and flowers.
On a normal day, Ibu Indra wakes up at 3am. She collects all the Champaks and puts them into baskets to sell in the market. Before joining Green School, Ibu Indra supported her family by making roofs with grass called ilalang. She also worked at a small hair salon and a laundry. For her, joining Green School meant two things; she was able to do something she had a deep love for, while also providing a better future for her son. It is her love for her family, especially her son, that drives her.
“I have been with Green School since it opened, having worked at Green Camp, Kul Kul Farm, and the school. I am happy I found work I love and my son is able to study at Green School. My dream is for him to one day attend university abroad,” she says.
Ibu Indra says she feels the happiest when she is in her garden surrounded by nature. “The area I look after is very big and I often discover new plants,” she says. But her work is not limited to tending to the garden. She also supports students learning about permaculture and gardening. “We learn from each other. I get to practice my English when working with the students,” she says.
In her work, Ibu Indra is committed to Green School’s ‘green’ philosophy. She makes several trips to the compost station each day and cannot imagine using chemical pesticides in the Green School gardens.
“I dream of a day when there will be no more pesticides in the world and we can return to organic forms of agriculture and gardening. I want to preserve not just our own plants but all the micro-living things in the earth,” she says.
(This article is the second of our four-part International Women’s Day series, celebrating inspiring women of Green School. Read our first article on Dita, Robotics Coordinator, here)