Nasi is the Indonesian word for rice, the sacred staple of any meal here in Bali. Which is why surfer/restaurateurs Sam Mahony and James Foley chose Project Nasi as the name for their grassroots efforts to help feed the disadvantaged during the Covid -19 Lockdown here on the Island of the Gods.
With the beaches closed and zero overseas visitors, the impact of this global pandemic has been devastating to the local communities that depend on surfing and surfers for their daily bread. Mahony and Foley have turned their restaurants into 'crisis kitchens'. Impromptu aid stations where the local community can drop by and pick up individual recyclable paper bags full of food supplies that should keep a family fed for a week at a time.
“A lot of us expat surfers and businessmen come from such privileged countries”, says Wollongong native Sam Mahony, “where help can come in so many forms. But here the people are dependent on each other for survival. Project Nasi is a chance for any surfer that has ever surfed Bali to help the people of this island that have welcomed us into their waves as well as into their way of life”.
Both Sam and James, along with other surfers like Ella Weishaar, Chelsea Mahony, Blake Johnson, Jessy Hansen and local surf club Presidents Nyoman 'Winchester' Sumastra and Mangku Kasim, have all banded together to make this an island-wide network. With other restaurants also able to use their supply chain to provide the same service to the community in a coordinated, efficient way.
Project Nasi is so far operating on donations from the people named above and through crowdfunding. The hope is that Project Nasi may grow into a organisation that will continually provide food for the needy in any future disaster or pandemic situation.
“As the crossroads of international surfing,” says Maroubra native Foley, “Bali holds a special place in millions of surfers hearts. I mean, generations have surfed magic waves here and have had incredible experiences with the culture. It’s really simple, Project Nasi is such a perfect way to just say thanks for all of it. That’s the spirit of the whole thing”.
(All photos Josh Symon)