Comfortably Numb

Pic by Mark Ulyseas
Pic by Mark Ulyseas

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.

I have become comfortably numb.
– Pink Floyd,Comfortably Numb (Gilmour, Waters)


“The lunatics are on the prowl.

Someone somewhere is loving and leaving

Someone somewhere is lying and living

What’s the difference?

One can become a cow and eat grass

Or be a lotus eater and smoke it.”

mark ulyseas, comfortably numb

Urgent message from Ibu Robin Lim, Bumi Sehat, Ubud, Bali

Hi Mark,

Please let the world know that Bumi Sehat needs help, now.
Love, Ibu Robin
Ibu Robinʼs Field Report, August 2010 Bumi Sehat Bali and Aceh, Indonesia

We have had unseasonable rain here in Indonesia, as I write the sky is again dark and
heavy with clouds. Before 8 a.m. today in Bali, we had already received three new
babies into this world! All the mothers are resting and breastfeeding their healthy

Sadly this is not so for the beautiful mother, Sari, who came into Bumi Sehat two weeks
ago. Sari had not come to see us before she began her labor. She had had no prenatal
care, no vitamins, and was very malnourished. Her baby, still in the womb and just
hours away from birth, had died in the night. She had felt kicking quite strongly, and
then nothing in the morning. The staff midwives called to tell me this mom arrived with
no fetal heartbeat. I ran to the clinic. As Sariʼs husband saw me arriving at Bumi Sehat
he said to his wife, “Oh it’s going to be OK now, Ibu Robin is here.” Of course my heart
sank, as I could not bring their baby back to life. We could give them kind free services,
and hope to soothe their pain, but I don’t know how parents survive such a loss. This
Babyʼs umbilical cord was only 20 centimeters long, it simply was too short and pulled
away from the baby, causing him to die before his birth. Plenty of nutritious foods help
the umbilical cord to grow long. This cord was too short for the baby to survive, due to
poverty and maternal hunger.

I have spent the past two weeks pondering fate, and the fact that perhaps had this
mother-to-be found Bumi Sehat sooner, and had she taken the Perfect Prenatal
vitamins that we give away thanks to the blessing of New Chapter, perhaps her baby
would have made it. As I wonder, I pray that more mothers on this planet do get the
nutrients and clean water and loving support that they need to bring healthy, intelligent,
happy babies into this world. Thanks to all of you, family, friends, donors, sponsors, we
are able to give thousands of women each year prenatal care, which lowers the risks of
pregnancy and childbirth.

Remember the Twins born in Aceh after the Tsunami took two of Ibu Ellys children?
Today the family still lives in poverty, but their sister, Yenni, will soon finish midwifery school
sponsored by Bumi Sehats donors!

This is a letter of gratitude to thank you for all the help you have given Bumi Sehat. The
patient statistics for the clinic-birthing center in Bali and the Tsunami Relief clinic-birth
center in Aceh, plus the educational, environmental and capacity building projects that
you support, reflect your devoted partnership with us. Your support relieves suffering,
and I do believe that together we are building world peace.

Next I must ask for more help. The world economy has made it increasingly difficult for
me to find the funding that Bumi Sehat needs to keep our clinics and projects alive.
Again, I appeal to all of you who have been so generous already over many years,
please continue to help Bumi Sehat. Team Bumi and I are not willing to cut back
services. Every way we look at the day-to-day reality of what we do at Bumi Sehat, it is
obvious that there is no program or project that is not essential. The people here need
these services. Be it prenatal care, births, postpartum and breastfeeding support,
pediatric, general or alternative medicine, all are necessary and the people here are full
of gratitude for the help YOU provide via your donations to Bumi Sehat.

A short review of what your donations to Bumi Sehat have accomplished so far in 2010
Total Patients & Students Helped: 17,096
Bumi Sehatʼs Earthquake relief effort in Haiti:

Note: for the purpose of sustainability Bumi Sehat turned the
Haiti Birth center over to another NGO in late June 2010
Patient Statistics Haiti Clinic February – June 2010

Prenatal Visits: 1,400
Births: 87
Pediatric Care: 785
Total Patients cared for in Haiti: 2,272

Bumi Sehat Bali Clinic Patient Statistics January ~ July 2010
Pregnancy Check ups: 2,323
Births: 256
Postnatal Care/Breastfeeding Support 210
Pediatric care: 93
Alternative medical treatments: 604
General medical visits: 1,505
Total Patients cared for in Bali: 4,991
Bumi Sehat Aceh Clinic Patient Statistics January ~ July 2010
Pregnancy Check ups: 768
Births: 54
Postnatal care: 179
General medical visits: 8,415
Total Patients cared for in Aceh: 9,416
Bumi Sehat Bali Youth Center Student Statistics January ~ July 2010
Computer skills: 141 students completed course
English language: 276 students completed course
Total Students improving their education at Bumi Sehat: 417

Please consider making a charitable contribution to Yayasan Bumi Sehat. We are
grateful for your partnership in this journey of service for humanity.
Online Donations: You may donate via credit card or Paypal via our website:

Yayasan Bumi Sehat
Nyuh Kuning Village
PO Box 116, Ubud, Bali 80571 Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 970 002
Fax: +62 361 972 969

Helping hands at Bumi Sehat Bali ~ where each day a miracle of Peace is born!
Thank You! Terima Kasih!

Poem – Why do we wait?

photograph by mark ulyseas

I waited for you today at the jetty.
The ferry from Port Bardez arrived on time
with its cargo of islanders laden with goods from the mainland…

You were not on it.

Why is that waiting always brings sadness?
Why is that waiting that ends in disappointment ends in anger?

Why do we wait when time slips by like a thief in the night…
While we vegetate and grow one day older?

Are we waiting for death?
Or, are we waiting on Life?

Why do we wait?

When the moment we are born we begin dying…

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Balinese Teacher speaks to mark ulyseas

A Balinese schoolteacher somewhere in Bali…

“I want to learn.

I want to do further studies in a foreign university because I will learn much more and when I return I can get a better job, maybe in a government school, as the pay is very good. I could also be a professional translator – English/Indonesian/English for the tourism business.

Without better education, I will remain a nobody struggling to eat everyday.”

Putu, Balinese school teacher pic by mark ulyseas

23 years old.
Her educational qualifications:

  • SMP– Sekolah Menengah Pratama – Junior High School – Class 7 to 9. Balinese taught only till Class 9.
  • SMA – Sekolah Menengah Atas Senior High School – Class 10 to 12
  • SPD Maha Saraswati University, Denpasar, Bali. 3 yrs 6 mths. Strata 1.Studied English. No books only lectures. However, one can photocopy books, as the books are expensive. The university has large library.

“This was the expenditure incurred by my parents when I was in school.

My three siblings are school going.

  • A. Tuition fees 12 months  = US$42.00
  • Two sets of books US$ 20.00 per year   = US$20.00
  • Uniforms 3 different colours   = US$10.50
  • Private Tuition per year = US$60.00
  • Sundry expenses e.g. per year = US$25.00
  • TOTAL Average Cost per child per year = US$157.50
  • B. Total per year for 1 brother/2 sisters/self 4 x 157.50 = US$ 630.00 this does not include transport, food at school,medical,misc.
  • C. Both parents are teachers each earning approx. US$200 per month
  • 2 x US$200 x 12 months = US$ 2400.00
  • D. Deduct Education for children (C) US$2400 (B) $ 630.00 = US$$1770.00
  • Balance in hand for household expenses – food, transport,
  • Medical, ceremonies, clothes for 6 members of the family for one year this averages US$25/per member per month/and per day  =US$ 00.83

The monthly deficit works usually out to around $150/- and sometimes more when ceremonies/festivals/accidents/illnesses occur.

This was the situation when I completed my schooling. Now it is much harder as basic living costs have risen, for example the price of food.”

Presently, Putu is a part time English teacher in a primary school earning US$50 per month.She also does private tuitions for 4 students once a week for a total monthly fee of US$ 12.00.

“I don’t want to get married now; maybe in another five years. I will continue to contribute to family expenses as my parents have educated me. They believe that without education one cannot go forward in life.”

And yes I will marry a Balinese, because I am proud to be Balinese!

  • Note
  • 01.School children must buy their textbooks from their teacher.
  • 02. There is no standardization of textbooks.
  • 03.In government schools tuition fees are waived for all students till Class 6. But the overheads like uniform books etc. have to be paid for.
  • 04. Many children drop out after Class 9 (on completing SMP) because their families cannot afford to pay the tuition fees etc. for Classes 10 onwards (SMA). One can see them working in warungs and other businesses at the bottom rung of the workforce.
  • 05. Unsubstantiated reports reveal that Bali has a shortfall of 9,000 teachers for the Balinese language and Hindu religion.

If you want to help this schoolteacher to travel abroad for further studies please contact

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Thank you Ubud Polisi Bali !

Thank you Ubud Polisi, Bali, for apprehending the thieves who burgled my home in Ubud in April 2010.
And thank you for recovering my laptop that contains my writing and photographs of the last five years.

I must also add a grateful handshake to The Bali Times for publishing my letter about the theft.

Unsolicited advice to all ‘visitors/long stay folk’ – you must register a written complaint with the Bali Polisi if your things are stolen. And make sure you keep the written acknowledgment of your complaint that the Bali Polisi gives you.

Matur Suksama