Bali Memoirs Part 1: We both hit Jackpot!

I am currently in Bali putting the finishing touches on the BEL KAZAN Spring 2013 Collection.

Its always such a magical experience being in Bali, also know as (The Island of the Gods).

Today I called a taxi to go to the fabric area in search of some new fabrics. The taxi shows up and out comes a woman to open the door for me! I couldn’t believe it! In my 8 years of traveling here I had never seen a female taxi driver in Bali, let alone most places in the world.

We start talking. Her name is Laksimi and she is doing such a great job with her adorable broken English. She tells me there are only 3 women taxi drivers in all of Bali. At that point I felt like I hit jackpot! she was so sweet and when I asked her where she was from she said Klungkung. I couldn’t believe that either because we have a factory in Klungkung which is a small village in East Bali where we make some of our dresses.

She then asks me the 3 most popular questions you get in Bali as a tourist:

1) where are you from?     2) are you married?     3) do you have children?

Then I ask her the same questions so she goes on to tell me she has 3 children. A boy who is 17, a girl who is 15 and a boy who is 5.  Since she is a cab driver in the city and knowing Klungkung is almost 2 hours away I ask her where she lives. Apparently she lives in the city and her Mother takes care of her children, whom she only sees once a week, if that, when she goes to visit them on her 1 day off. I asked her what her husband does and she said he died 4 years ago due to Cancer.

Then the tears came from her and then from me, we had a moment of bonding. She told me: “but I am strong, and I live for my children”. In that moment I put myself in her shoes and how tough it must be day to day for her and how strong she truly is. I was so touched in so many ways. I told her I wanted to be a Mother someday and she assured me I would be. She had such a pure essence to her.

I asked her how much she makes a day as a cab driver and she said about 100,000 RP which equals approx $10 a day. And let me tell you that is decent money in Bali.

When we got to our stop I decided to give her a $25 dollar tip and she couldn’t believe it. That is more than 2 days of work for her. She was so happy and her eyes lit up. She kept thanking me.

Whether the Jackpot was big doesn’t matter. It is the connection we created in that moment, the tears we shed in a 30 min cab ride, communication through tears and broken English.

It was a moment I’ll never forget….meet Laksimi…