Existing in the rainshadow of Bali, Karangasem is the poorest region on the island. In March of 2016 I partnered with Rumah Sehat to accompany two nurses and a guide on foot to provide food and minor health care to a small village spread across the leeward slope of Mt Agung. These families were forcefully displaced by the growing tourism industry from their coastal homes with rich fishing activities to a more desolate landscape without the necessary precipitation to grow food. A lack of access to education and proper healthcare acts only to compound their problems and further isolate them from a society that caters more and more to western cultures. The majority of the local population now struggle to survive on the arid mountain slopes with an income of less than $75 per year.
This portrait series was a humbling and eye-opening experience, both for me to see as well as to share some of the destitution that can be caused by government corruption and oppression. Bali is considered among the best economic environments in Indonesia, in-part because of it's large tourism industry. But that industry is often a double-edged sword, forcing the lowest classes into deeper levels of poverty. Tourists rarely, if ever, get to see this side of the island as they have been so well hidden in the mountains.