Press conference lunch - preparing ourselves for what we are about to witness...

Kim (The West Australian) and Trisha (Jakarta Post), quiz Alit (Media Relations for the Suryami Institute), trying to get our heads around the program and the people it tries to help ... among individuals we hear about is a woman who suffering from what sounds like post-natal depression, was thrown out of her husbands home and then locked up by her parents as she was ‘out of control’ ...

Suryami Institute Volunteers

These amazing individuals dedicate their time (with minimal pay), seeking out and helping individuals who through a lack of understanding and fear on behalf of their families, might be held in cages, chains or stocks. Here they are waiting to guide us to some of such locations.

Arriving at Sawan, Bali

We need to leave our car as the rest of the journey to our first location is about to be a 30 minute trek ... Gifts in the form of supplies in hand we start walking through the back streets of the village ...

Friendly locals

We are greeted with curiosity and huge smiles as we pass the locals - the Balinese are truly lovely people ... and they were a welcome distraction from our true purpose of being there ...

Persistence pays off ...

This tough lady insisted I follow her to her house where she summoned her son (Im guessing) and posed for this photo ... Really wish now that I asked to see what was in that bucket on her head - it seemed effortless for her to carry it.

We’re here ...

I didn’t even realise we had arrived until I noticed the group ahead of me seemed to be entering a property and being greeted by annoyed barks of dogs I couldn’t see ... and with the whole rabies thing, it certainly made me walk a little faster so as not to be the one to be left on my own. It’s hard to know what you’re looking for or what to even expect. Here was a normal looking house with silhouettes of people in the shadows and a slight commotion ahead where the others were already further in ... but they weren’t heading towards the house, they were walking along the fence line just outside the property ... Weren’t we going into the house ?

The prison

We followed the fence line past the house ... and there we found, across from the pig-pen, a three walled shack of straw and wood ...

Gede

... beneath the twisted construction ... completely naked, sat Gede Budayasa ... a 34 year old man .... his right foot imprisoning him in a Stock ... yes a Stock - straight out of the distant middle ages.

Does this actually (still) happen ??

I can’t possibly explain what goes through your mind when you come across such a sight ... and this is when you are actually half prepared for it !! .... The pig across from him had more freedom. And you won’t be ready for this ... he was went to school until he was 18 ... and he was a runner! .... I need to confirm the exact numbers on this - but when he was about 16 his brother (the primary bread winner as a driver in Jakarta), was poisoned by his jealous colleagues ... whilst I believe he had prior aggression issues, this led Gede to become more aggressive and turn violent ... we don’t know the full extent of that violence, but we know he pushed his mother into a fire in one of the incidents. His parents are clearly old and frail and understandably frightened by all this ... and with few options, little understanding and a great deal of concern and fear - they opted to deal with the problem in this manner ... Whats even more distressing is when you realise he’s been here like this for about 10 YEARS!