It’s All About Love…

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Yogi & Paula2013 is the 20th anniversary of my diagnosis of early menopause.  As I think back through those 20 years, I slowly shake my head in wonder at the journey I have been on. My heart feels full – with joy, purpose and fulfilment. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the life I now live and the beautiful people I share it with…

I ‘borrowed’ this picture from an article on a website I subscribe to, called Childless Mothers Connect.  It was an article about Mother’s Day for Childless Women.  This picture and its words touch me on the deepest level. This is how I feel about the journey I have begun with Yogi, the now 13 year old boy I sponsor in Bali.  He has changed my life.  He has brought up feelings in me I never thought I’d ever experience…

Mother Love

As much as he gives to me, just by being in my life and being ‘Yogi’, I get so much joy in giving to him.

I’ll just give you some background on Yogi and his life in Bali.  Yogi was 10 years old when I first started sponsoring him (the sponsorship money pays for his education). He and his family live in a small village on the dry East Coast of Bali.  There is nothing there.  It is not a tourist destination.

The people survive by fishing, harvesting sea salt and having small warungs (food stalls), making offering baskets (carna – pronounced Charna), some collect plastic bottles and send for recycling. Life is basic. Life is hard.

Yogi’s family is very poor, hence the need for sponsorship.  There are five children – Yogi is the oldest.  Their Father is a truck driver and only gets work in the dry season (around 8 months of the year) where he delivers water to locals. Their Mother holds the fort at home, looking after the children and making carna baskets to sell at the market.

Yogi's Kitchen

The kitchen – Yogi shows me where the cooked nasi is kept – in the cupboard

They mostly eat nasi (cooked white rice), and sometimes fish and chicken when money allows.  Malnourishment is common, and children in this area are often sick with colds, and have sores on their arms and legs as their immune system does not get nourishment from good food.

There is one main bed in Yogi’s house, that mum and the kids ALL sleep on…actually, it’s not even a bed, it’s a large king-single mattress on the concrete floor, in what is also the ‘lounge’, where they watch tv and relax…Dad sleeps in another small room on a single mattress on the floor.

Sleeping arrangements

Yogi and his cousin Dede posing on the family bed

I recently said to Yogi, “You ALL sleep on the mattress?”, as I raised my eyebrows…”Yes Paula” he said, “it’s not a problem”…

Have and have not

And so, in 2011, when I lived in Bali and spent five months volunteering at the Yayasan where his sponsorship goes through (teaching  English,  computer, health, environment, and sex education – bearing in mind I’m not a teacher in my normal life)…I fell in love with Yogi and saw the potential this magical child had…to be more, to have more.  Not in a material sense, but in a quality of life sense.

So from that experience in 2011, I found my purpose.  I found a reason for my life taking the turn it did 20 years ago, and I feel, on the deepest level, that I am here to help give Yogi opportunities he would not otherwise have. The fulfillment I get from giving to him I cannot put into words…

When I was in Bali in 2011, I found out about the Bali Green School. From that moment, the seed was sown in my mind (in my dreams), that one day I wanted to get Yogi there – somehow.

And so it happened…I had been back in Bali one week (May 2013), when I got an email from a friend in New Zealand telling me about a competition to win a Scholarship to the Green Super Camp in July.  This was it.  This was my opportunity to get him there, even for just one week.

The Universe Conspires

All I had to do was write, in 400 words or less, why (‘my child’) deserved to go to Super Camp.  I didn’t hesitate for one second.  I poured my heart out, explaining Yogi’s situation and how I saw so much potential in him, that he was bright, intelligent, loving, kind and very diligent.  Writing about Yogi was easy, having to restrict it to 400 words was the hard part!

One week later they contacted me – I had won a 1/2 Scholarship for Yogi to go to the camp!  This meant I would have to pay 1/2, but at least now it was within my reach to do so.

Do you know that moment…when you have been wishing and wanting something with all your heart, and then it happens…this was one of those moments…overjoy, overwhelm and surreal…my heart and emotions bursting.

Yogi’s journey to the Green Super Camp is a story in itself.  It has been a huge undertaking of trust, courage and determination. The potential for his future is unlimited; and the ripple effect into his community from what he has learnt, and what he will share with his friends, family and wider circles will, bit by bit, slowly make an impact as well.

Before After

My 20 year journey to this point, I could not have imagined.  My 20 year journey to this point, I am truely grateful.  My 20 year journey to this point, I am now filled with joy and purpose.

And so, to all those women out there, who’s dreams of having children of their own have gone down the toilet for whatever reason…THERE ARE OTHER WAYS…ways that are immensely fulfilling, just in a different way. You CAN have wonderful children in your life.  Children to give to, to receive from.

Don’t give up…take a step into the unknown…be open…trust…you just don’t know what magic awaits you…

I can’t adequately put into words how fulfilling it is TO GIVE to someone who really NEEDS YOUR HELP, who really APPRECIATES YOUR HELP, and how giving that help, HELPS YOU in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.

Fearless and Free

And so, from not having given birth to my own children, and never expecting to have a deep ‘Motherly’ connection to any, I now have a very special ‘Bali family’. My relationship with Yogi in particular, has, without doubt, become the missing link in my heart.

Together with my friend Brent, we now also sponsor Yogi’s Sister, Ari.  Brent also sponsors two boys from other poor families.  Each year when we come to Bali to see the children and teach, it is a very special time for us all…



I look forward to witnessing and sharing in these children’s milestones – finishing High School, going to University or their first job, getting married, having children of their own and being the ‘Kiwi Grannie’!  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would ever have that…

To my special Bali children:

If Ever

And so, if my story has sparked something in you – an interest, a curiosity, a movement, and you don’t know what to do next…please, just reach out and contact me…I don’t have all the answers, but I can certainly relate, and I may be able to help…

At some point in the not too distant future I hope to publish a book about my journey. It’s a work in progress so watch this space…

Thank you and Kia Kaha x








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  1. Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi Paula,

    I am finally getting a chance to skim through your blog. I love this story and the life you’re creating for yourself! Now I understand a little about how you see yourself in Miss Rumphius 😉

    • Hi Penina, I’m delighted you’ve found the time to check me out and thank you so much for your contact :)…I loved your article and will be tracking down the Miss Rumphius book when I get back to NZ in November, can’t wait to read it! Warm Regards, Paula 😉


  1. […] has given me something I never thought I would ever feel—a deep Motherly love. Even though he has a wonderful mother, father and family, I know I will always have a special […]

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