Bali, the main tourist destination on the Indonesian island, officially opened its borders to local visitors on July 31. Officials hope that the opening of the island will slowly revive the tourism sector that has been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bali's experience with easing restrictions will guide the authorities' decision to see if Indonesia will receive foreign tourists again in September.
As of July 30, Indonesia had registered 106,336 COVID-19 cases and 5,058 deaths. There are active cases in the 34 provinces of the nation. The cases in Bali are double compared to the beginning of July. On July 27, 3,219 cases were reported throughout the province.
On the island, which relies heavily on tourism, lockdown was imposed in April, disrupting the local economy and displacing hundreds of workers. How have the inhabitants survived in the last three months?
A collaborative edit hosted by BASAbali Wiki urged Balinese participants to describe the impact of COVID-19 on their communities.
BASAbali Wiki is a digital platform promoting the Balinese language, one of the 707 languages of Indonesia. According to a 2011 census, almost two million people speak Balinese in the province of Bali, whose population is about four million.
One of the initiatives of the platform is the wikithon (collaborative edition) whose objective is to add more words and phrases to the cultural dictionary of BASAbali Wiki. This year's theme is the social impact of COVID-19:
Covid-19 mini-wikithons provide a safe space for people to talk in their native Balinese language about their challenges and coping strategies of the pandemic in Balinese communities.
Small COVID-19 wikithones provide a safe space for people to speak in their native Balinese about their challenges and coping strategies for the pandemic in Balinese communities.
The three best photos and essays have been selected and translated into English and Indonesian languages.
The photo (at the top of this article) and its description, published by I Komang Arsa Saguna, won the “Just Photo It” competition; The photo describes how vendors in local markets were affected by the pandemic. Here is a translated excerpt from the caption:
In Bali, the COVID-19 outbreak has been plaguing us since March. When the outbreak hit Bali, many economic sectors were affected by the virus, ranging from the upper-middle to lower-middle economy. There is an appeal from the government to avoid this virus by working from home, compound or griya (large residence consisting of multiple courtyards). People who have jobs selling in the market find it difficult to sell.
Traders who sell at the market cannot carry out their work because fewer and fewer people shop at the market. Likewise, traders who sell in the market are afraid of the coronavirus, and this causes many traders not to sell in the market, though there are still some traders who do.
Although many small traders have received basic food assistance from the government, the assistance wasn't enough, which caused small traders to continue to sell, disobeying the government's call to avoid the danger of the coronavirus.
In Bali, the COVID-19 outbreak has been tormenting us since March; when it arrived, many sectors of the economy were affected, from the upper-middle to the lower-middle economy. There is a request from the Government to avoid the virus and it is to work from home, in a complex or in griya (large residences made up of several patios). People who work selling in the market find it difficult to sell.
The merchants who sell to the market cannot carry out their jobs because very few people buy there. Also, sellers fear the coronavirus and that is why many no longer sell the market, although some continue to do so.
Although many small businesses have received basic food assistance from the Government, it is not enough, which is why many continue to sell, disobeying the Government's call to avoid the danger of the virus.
For its part, the photo of I Wayan Kuntara won the third prize; The photo shows the vulnerability of the elderly in rural areas. Here, a translated excerpt from the caption:
The most susceptible to COVID-19 is usually an elderly person. Such a warning has an impact on the elderly in rural areas where they spend the majority of the day farming in the fields. It feels very tight working in the fields using a mask.
Generally, the most vulnerable to COVID-19 are the elderly That warning has an impact on the elderly in rural areas, where they spend most of their time caring for their fields. They are very uncomfortable working in the fields with a mask.
In the “Just Confide It” category on the wikithon, participants were asked to write essays on how they coped with the disastrous effect of the pandemic.
From Yogyajarta, university student I Kadek Surya Jayadi documented some of the scenes at the community market. Here is a translated excerpt from the essay:
It's sad to see pedicab drivers who do not get passengers; I'm sad to see a newspaper deliveryman with no buyers; the kencur rice was also not sold. I can tell a lot more. Unlike most of the trading, herbal medicines sellers selling ginger, turmeric, and sere are suddenly crowded with buyers. Since the world has been hit by a pandemic, all kinds of herbal medicine sellers are busy with buyers. I also went along to buy herbal medicine at the market since there was an outbreak of Covid-19.
It is sad to see rickshaw drivers not getting passengers; sad to see a newspaper boy without buyers: the rice kencur didn't sell either. I can say much more. Unlike stores, herbal medicine vendors sell ginger and turmeric and are packed with shoppers. Ever since the world has been hit by a pandemic, all of these herbal medicine sellers are full of buyers. I also buy medicinal herbs in the market since there is an outbreak of COVID-19
The leading essay for the competition was written by Made Sinar, who gave a moving testimony about her family's decision to pursue agriculture to survive the pandemic. Here is a translated excerpt from his essay:
My husband is also very diligent in working. Corn and sweet potatoes, which we planted every day, are now ready to be harvested. Every day my family eats corn and sweet potatoes. Sometimes we eat yam rice, sometimes steamed, sometimes also fried, which is important to stop the stomach from growling. There are vegetables also so that there is also income. I sell sweet potato chips. I make them. My eldest son is also diligent in helping, and my husband is in charge of taking him to the stalls. God still gives grace, even though we only sell sweet potato chips, and sometimes corn and vegetables, my family never goes hungry.
My husband is also very diligent. Corn and sweet potatoes, which we planted every day, are now ready for harvest. MY family eats corn and sweet potatoes every day. Sometimes we eat rice with yam, sometimes steamed or fried, which is important to prevent the stomach from growling. There are also vegetables that generate income. I make sweet potato fries and then sell them. My oldest son is also very diligent, he also helps and my husband takes care of taking him to the sales stand. God continues to give us grace, even if we sell only sweet potato chips, sometimes corn and vegetables, my family never goes hungry.