There is a village in east Bali called Amed. Amed is on the coast and fishing is the main source of income for the villagers. It is a very poor community but the people are warm and gracious. The fishing boats are quite colorful and are built in the outrigger style. I never seemed to be awake in the predawn hours when the fishermen left but I would see them in the late afternoon when they returned with their catch of the day. It took quite an effort to pull the heavy wooden boats up on the beach each evening but everyone helped each other until all the boats were secured for the night.
One day I decided to eat lunch at a small outdoor cafe located on the beach. I was lost in thought when I heard some commotion near by. I turned to see what was happening. It was a very touching sight that remains a fond memory. What I saw was a group of young children in their tattered clothes caring an empty shampoo bottle that they had filled with some of the wildflowers growing nearby. They were filled with pure joy as each had one hand on the bottle as they went in search of their mom. The smiles were adorable and mom was overjoyed to receive such a special gift.
I don’t know exactly why that scene has stayed in my mind for the past fifteen years. I think it was the purity and simplicity of it. The best things in life are free comes to mind. These little kids did not have any material possessions. No clothes with designer labels, no expensive toys, no high tech gizmos, not even shoes. What they had was so much more valuable. They had a strong sense of family and community. They had positive feelings of belonging. They had love for each other and an inner peace and joy that shone brightly through their eyes. They had the best things that money can not buy. Lucky kiddos!