I Made Adi Mantara, 28, from Denpasar, is the head of Yayasan Kesehatan (Health Foundation), an organisation that since 2000 has been helping people living with HIV and drug users in Bali. He shared his day with Carla Albertí de la Rosa.
I wake up at 7 in the morning and I think how grateful I am that I’m not addicted to drugs anymore. I used to be addicted to heroin but I stopped seven years ago. I got over drugs thanks to Yayasan Kesehatan and now it’s very pleasing to be part of it. It’s my turn to help people who need it.
I’ve just had a child, who is just 26 days old. She is so perfect and as soon as I get out of bed I go to give her a hug and spend some time with her. I then take a shower and have breakfast. I usually have fried noodles. I read the newspaper for about half an hour and at 8:30 I leave the house to get to work at 9. When I get to my office I check my staff and their plans for the day. We talk about what happened the day before and I give them advice if they have any doubts.
We help people who are addicted to drugs and live with HIV. We give out information about the negative effects of drugs and give moral support to the HIV community. We used to have a rehabilitation centre but since last March we stopped it because many other centres in Bali do it. So we use our place as a drop-in centre. If they want a place to hang out or to sleep for a few weeks we can help.
For people who are addicted to drugs we give them cognitive behaviour therapy. It’s basically trying to change their perspective about life and the way they think about drugs. People who are addicted to drugs see their life as being ruled by drugs, so we try to change that perspective. Drugs have become a big problem in Bali. Most drug users are between 17 to 40 and they have a lot of amphetamine, which is crystal ice; we also have a lot of ecstasy, heroin and marijuana. Drugs became popular in the 90s, with the tourism boom.
I have lunch around 1, some babi guling (roasted sucking pig) that I buy at the foodstall next door, or some fried rice. After lunch I check my schedule. We get our money from the government and I have a lot of connections with the government so sometimes we organise workshops to help people.
We give people living with HIV some counselling. They might come into my office and I give them information and try to make them understand that their life has not stopped just because they have HIV. Life keeps going.
The Health Department says we have 3,400 people with HIV on the island but the real estimate is around 7,000 people. We have a lot of HIV cases from sharing syringes. We used to give free syringes but now they are given by the public health service. The problem is now people with HIV have had babies and they have contracted the disease. There aren’t enough safe-sex education campaigns in Indonesia and the use of condoms in Bali is very low. Advertising is very expensive and we don’t have the money to do it. We give free condoms only in Tabanan and other organisations do it in other areas of Bali. In general people are not aware of the risks of not using protection. It’s strange for the Balinese people to buy condoms; it’s not in their culture to do it.
Drug regulations in Indonesia are very strict. If someone is caught taking them, the minimum sentence is four years. So I spend a lot of time pushing the government to send the drug users to rehabilitation instead of punishing them.
In the afternoon I check my emails and make programs for education for the community. I train staff and make sure that everything is working smoothly.
Right before I finish work, around 8pm, we have an informal discussion, with staff and ex-drug users about what we have achieved and what else can we do to improve things.
I then go home and spend time with my daughter and my wife. I like watching action movies and dramas. I always watch them in English and that’s why my English has improved over the years. When I have spare time I do some gardening in my house and clean the aquarium for my fish. I lie down in bed and read for a few minutes, mainly autobiographies, until I fall asleep around midnight.Filed under: One Day