Wayan’s Story

“I’ve never known my mother’s face.”

Just as we’ve done with the many drivers we’ve met in Bali over the years, I chatted with Wayan about his life and family.

Wayan is a driver for a ferry boat company in Bali, who picked us up from our hotel and drove us to the port where we were to travel by boat, to Ceningan Island, to spend the first few weeks of our trip.

I’ve never heard a story like his before.

“When I was only one or two years old, my mother died giving birth to my sister, so I don’t know what she looked like. I don’t know her face.”

I can’t imagine what it was like for him, to go through life with no memory of his mother’s face. Not even a photograph. But the rest of his story touched my heart to the core.

Wayan has a wife and two children aged 14 and 16. They live in a village about 40 minutes away from his work place, but his current situation prevents him from being able to live with them.

Before Covid, Wayan had a third child, a son, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age two, and died at age 6.

The hospital bills, then needing to pay for a cremation ceremony (very important in Balinese culture, but also very expensive), followed by losing his income during Covid, found him no longer able to pay the rent for his family’s home.

His wife and children moved into a very small place with her parents, with no space for him. His best option was to stay on a chicken farm not far away.

I cannot fathom the excruciating pain of losing a child this way. To then have to deal with such extreme financial issues afterwards… I can’t imagine how difficult this has been for Wayan and his family.

He fell behind in payments for his kid’s school fees, so for a while they had to stop attending. “They were so sad when they couldn’t go to school” he told me.

For Wayan, sending his children to school so that they can have a better life than him, is an absolute priority.

He borrowed money from a friend to pay the bill that he’d accrued with the school, so the kids could start attending again. But a condition of the loan was that he had to give his scooter (his only means of transport) to the friend until he could repay the money.

Wayan used to ride his scooter back to his village each day, so he could see his family, even though he’s not able to live with them.

Without the scooter, his only option has been to sleep on the floor in the warehouse of the company he works for.

He dreams of being able to have enough money to pay rent for a place to live with his wife and children. (For a year’s rent he needs the equivalent of around $3000 Australian dollars).

Meanwhile, his father and step mother have both been in hospital with serious health issues, and he’s worried about how he’ll afford the bills.

When he stays at the hospital overnight, there is no bed or couch to rest on. He has to sleep outside on the ground. This was how he spent many nights when his son was in hospital undergoing cancer treatments.

As Wayan’s story unfolded during the forty minute drive, I found myself gasping. I kept looking back at Mark and shaking my head as I tried to grasp how hard his life has been, and how much this man needed a break.

It felt clear to me that I’d crossed paths with Wayan that day for a reason, and I knew I needed to do something to help him. I don’t know why, but I also felt very compelled to share his story.

I had some cash, which was enough to give him what he needed to repay his friend for the loan, so he could get his scooter back and be able to travel back to his family village after work each day, and stop sleeping on the warehouse floor. It wouldn’t solve all his problems, but it was a start, and it would make a difference.

He looked genuinely shocked when I handed him the money. His eyes filled with tears as he said, “Oh my God. Thank you.” It felt more than “a good thing to do”.

It felt like a responsibility. I have so many privileges just because of the life I was born into, and giving away an amount of money that I can afford, seemed to me like the right thing to do. I knew I’d regret it later if I didn’t.

I feel deep compassion for what this man has been through, along with a newfound appreciation for the privileges, abundance and ease that I get to enjoy by comparison.

I feel very blessed to have been able to meet Wayan that day, to hear his story and to have been able to do something to make a difference for him.

I hope this is a helpful reminder to you, that connection with other humans greatly enriches our life experience. Making a positive difference for others gives our life more meaning and purpose. That’s why research tells us that giving isn’t only good for the recipient. It actually makes us happier.

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38 Comments

  1. What an incredibly moving story Kelly! You remind us all to have gratitude for our abundance in life and our responsibility to share our good
    fortune with others less fortunate! Wayan didn’t realise how lucky he was that day to meet you and your family. I’d be very interested in a GoFund campaign for this caring individual. Sending light and love, Julia

    Reply
  2. What a moving story Kelly that brought tears to my eyes. A great lesson in showing how we are all connected and how helping a stranger in need is an act of love that brings joy to both the giver and the receiver. I also think it would be a wonderful idea if you think it is appropriate to create a “Give a little” page or similar where Soulspace members who feel inspired to do so could donate.

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  3. Random acts of kindness are what the world needs. Thank you for lighting the way 🙏🏻🌸

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  4. Kelly Thankyou ♥️
    will you be in contact with Wayan again ?
    As I’d like to offer to kick off a ‘Go Fund Me’ for him on behalf of us Soul Sisters

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  5. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story how blessed was Wayan to cross your path Kelly it’s a divine connection that will touch so many lives xx

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  6. Awww Kelly thank you for sharing this story it brought me to tears. Paying it forward works and Wayan must have felt so moved by your generosity. I believe you will continue to have a wonderful holiday without any health interruptions and may the force be with you .❤❤❤❤💖💖💖

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  7. What a story Kelly! The way some other people live. I am privileged too. You are so kind in doing what you did. Changed his life forever ❤️
    Could we do a ‘go fund me’ for him to help him and his family even more?

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  8. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

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  9. May God be with him and his family.

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  10. A beautiful gift from a beautiful heart.
    I would have felt the same for sure.
    As you say it not only helps but the feeling you have from doing deeds such as yours gives the soul peace and tranquility.
    Thankyou for doing this, both you and Mark.🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

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    • Absolutely Chris. Thank you xxoo

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  11. We have just returned from our first trip to Bali. We felt very privileged and frankly uncomfortable by the generosity of the Balinese people. Most staff at our resort travelled 3 hours or more each day to provide us with a luxurious holiday. They smile constantly and wore some unpleasantness from other fussy guests who should be ashamed of themselves. A very humbling experience and proof that money and unnecessary stuff do not bring true happiness.

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    • Yes for sure Linda – it’s the simple things that matter when it all boils down!

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  12. Wow such a moving story that definitely makes you appreciate what you have, and also realise that the struggles you face are really minimal, compared to someone in Wayan’s situation.
    That was so lovely of you to help Wayan, you can understand how you would have felt compelled to do so.
    It would have meant so much to him to get his scooter back so he could visit his family and not have to sleep on the warehouse floor every night.
    So wonderful to have made a difference to his life and his family’s lives. :)

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    • Thanks Lee. Yes it sure made me even more appreciative than ever of what I have. Thanks for your lovely comment and thoughts.

      Reply
  13. Such a wonderful man, and his support to his family speaks highly of his values.
    Society is lacking in other places in the world, incl Australia, due to a lack of values.

    It is very upsetting to read of his struggles, and also refreshing to know the values he holds close to his heart.

    Thank you to you both for listening and caring about his situation. and helping him like you have.

    Reply
    • Thanks Lani. The more we share stories like this, I do hope it makes a difference in helping us all to be more aware of valuing what’s really most important.

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  14. What a beautiful story.
    I was touched to the point of tears.
    It’s horrible how much we take for granted without knowing it.
    Compassion is the one thing that everyone on the planet needs.
    Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    • Thank you for sharing Wayan story Kelly.
      There are so many people struggling & suffering like we will never understand their pain but we can make it a little easier for them by donating money or time.
      Recently I was in Cambodia & Vietnam & I experienced similar situations. One day i will go back to Cambodia to volunteer my time in an organisation where they teach children English so they can do better when they leave school as lot of people are travelling to Cambodia now.
      Thanks for showing Wayan & his family so much kindness. Love your work God bless you & your family. Safe travels ❤️😇🙏

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      • That’s wonderful Gyan – I love the sound of your plans for Cambodia! Much love to you also xo

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  15. A very special connection for you Kelly & Wayan . A treasure .

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  16. Kelly, Wayan’s story touched my heart but your deep heartfelt and generosity for Wayan and his family touched me deeper. I crying my eyes out.
    Blessings and safe travels.💖💜

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    • Oh thank you Jane. I’m grateful to know this story touched you. Love to you!

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  17. This is such a reality check on how extremely fortunate we are.

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    • This really touched my heart dearest Kelly..thank you for your beautiful heart. If only we could all take the time to care enough and truly listen to people. You have such a gift Kelly. May God bless you and your family on this wonderful journey you are on. Take care

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      • I do believe people are put on our life’s journey and if we react like you and Mark did this beautiful world we live in will GLOW WITH LOVE. God bless Everyone

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        • That’s exactly how I felt that day Helen – like I was meant to meet and talk to Wayan for a purpose.

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      • Thank you Janine. Yes he really is doing his best to manage and look after his family in such a challenging situation.

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      • Thank you so much Lyn – I’m grateful to know this resonated for you.

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        • Kelly this is why we come across some people in our lives. It’s sharing and doing some good in life. I bet you got so much out of your kind gesture. This is what you teach us in your sessions any small gesture to someone’s life can be life changing.

          Reply
    • OMG, that was such a sad story of suffering and commitment for the family. It was so nice of you, Kelly, to help Wayan. You will be blessed with much more. Wayan gets his scooter back!

      Just a thought that you could have set up a fund me Wayan amongst Soul Space so that Wayan can send his children to school and be with his family.

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      • Oh Kelly Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful man’s Story with us, your generosity towards him would have been so appreciated and humbling for him, he would have felt like he had met an Angel. Your Loving Soul and Spirit certainly shines through, your Beautiful Nature is so Inspiring to us all 🙌💞 l certainly agree with our Soul Sisters who suggested we set up a Go Fund Wayan and his Family within our group( if you feel that is appropriate )

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      • Thanks so much Surinder. Yes I’ve had a few others reach out who would be keen to contribute so I am going to see if I can connect with him to make this happen!

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  18. What a wonderful husband and father how he does his best for his family and struggles if everyone listens and is caring and see his needs and tries to help in some way especially the beautiful and amazing helpful way you have taken some of the load and he is able to see his family. Bless you and family on your journey.

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    • Thank you Janine. Yes he really is doing his best to manage and look after his family in such a challenging situation.

      Reply
  19. It always bothers me how Australians swan around like royalty in Bali, paying pittance for services such as cooks and drivers. I feel we should respect these people and pay them properly. They deserve to be treated with respect. Being paid appropriately so they can care for their families is important. I hope your story inspires people to think about how they treat the Balinese and pay them fairly.

    Reply

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