From one big project to another. Last week, my big project “The Siargao Session” went live, this week it was time for Jackson’s. Project Lombok started over a coffee table chat when I introduced my great friend Duncan, The Classroom of Hope charity founder to Jackson. For a long time, Jackson and I were brainstorming ideas on how we could make a difference to the world and communities we see whilst travelling.
HOW IT CAME ABOUT?
Duncan and his wife Nicola started The Classroom of Hope 6 years ago. I met them both in 2018 at The Bali Hope Ultra, and was drawn to their positive energy, calmness yet unrelenting drive to make a difference in education. Particularly, they focus on children’s education in South East Asia. I don’t know much about charities but I was learning a lot from Duncan. I was so impressed with the copious amount of research he did on every project and the transparency he presented within the charity. Anything you wanted to know, he could and would tell you. He’s an impressive guy.
Skip forward a bit, and Jackson had partnered with Duncan on a brainchild called Project Lombok. What started as an adventure trip to raise $20000 soon grew exponentially. Jackson has detailed the story a lot better on his blog, so you check it out in detail over there.
Project Lombok is a week where each of the participants paid a fee of $1500 USD to be on the adventure tour. 100% of that fee went to building two much-needed pop-up schools in the earthquake-devastated region of north Lombok. When I say it grew exponentially, it’s because we developed into a social-impact project to raise $104,000. Building another 7 schools on top of the first two funded from the adventure tour.
TIME TO ADVENTURE
As much as I was looking forward to exploring Lombok, adventuring, visiting the schools and everything else we had planned, I was there to be Jackson’s assistant. As I found on The Siargao Session, managing a group of people requires a lot of energy. It’s a tough ask for anyone to do it alone, so I was there to help make things run a little smoother.
I was buzzing to be in Lombok, but it was only 7 days earlier that I was uncertain if I’d even get to make it. On The Siargao Session, I was struck down with a parasite of the large intestine. It took a lot of energy out of me. As a result, I was arriving at Lombok exhausted. A big week lay ahead.
For me, there were numerous highlights from every single day. Being around such a great group of people and climbing volcano ridges is a recipe for success.
HIKING MOUNT RINJANI WITH RINJANI DAWN.
I’d heard about Rinjani but I’d never hiked it. It was tough and very steep. We went to Senaru Crater Rim. Hiking all day, we eventually go to the top. I viewed this as strength training for the ultra.
We were greeted by the best sunset at the top, maybe the best sunset I’ve ever seen. For me, it was definitely the best sunset this year.
Another first for me was paragliding, we did this on our ‘day off’ down in Kuta. I thought it was going to be scarier than it was, but in reality, it was actually very relaxing. The view whilst we were gliding was superb. We had a great day for weather, so the ocean below us was vibrant blue.
At the end of the trip, we left up North to go and see the schools that the first wave of fundraising had built. These schools were in very rural communities, so much so, that the government had neglected these communities from any kind of help. If they were to receive help, it would be another 2-3 years away. To see the impact the Classroom of Hope was making was truly incredible.
HIKING PERGASINGAN HILL.
Another short but very steep hike, we started the afternoon before and camped at the top of the hill overnight. This night was one of my favourites because I got to know the group a whole lot better. With many travellers and people coming from extremely different walks of life, the stories were insane.
LEARNING PHOTOGRAPHY WITH CHRISTIAN ALS.
I learn a lot from Christian over the week. Christian has been a professional photographer for many years and he really sparked a love for photography again. I felt like I had been in a bit of a lull for a while. As an ex-war photographer, he had been in some situations beyond comprehension. He knows how to shoot in so many different environments and seemingly everything about photography. His love for the art was contagious and I left Project Lombok feeling inspired.
This blog merely covers a snippet of what the week was.
I couldn’t be more proud of what Jackson envisioned and then brought to life. I know it’s only the beginning of many more big projects ahead for him.