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(From The Jakarta Post)
Bali's tourism industry appears to be recovering, with holiday bookings looking promising. But while visitors enjoy the infinity pools and spa packages, they may not realize that they are just a hundred kilometers from one of the country's poorest communities.
The people of Desa Ban, in the district of Kubu in Karangasem, East Bali, have an average income of Rp 500,000 a year. They have been living the hard life since long before the Bali bombings of October 2002.
But their lives are being improved by the work of the East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP).
Arsil Majid's drawing graphically shows the "before" of his community's life: a child urinating in front of his house, another with the bloated belly of malnutrition and a third with diarrhea, while pigs and dogs roam freely.
The "after" is Arsil himself, plus his dozen classmates: freshly bathed and glowing with enthusiasm.
The "between" is EBPP. Its founder and chairman, British engineer David Booth, is beaming from the back of the classroom, waiting to take me on the next leg of our tour of the project's sizeable achievements.
"They are the pride of their communities, in fact we've just had our first graduates from elementary school given scholarships to junior high school in Singaraja," says Booth.
We've been up since before dawn to …