Travel Insights

Orphanage and Old Persons home visit on Bintan

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

Anthony Bourdain (again, what a man he was!)

This one has taken a bit to get right in words, and while sharing time with the Sea Gypsys yesterday, communicating only by hand gestures, smiles and shared food filled my cup. Another visit broke my heart.

The Sanchaya supports a local orphanage by way of the Mr Morris Foundation ( and a visit was also on the itinerary for me personally. I already knew about this program but it was so much more than I thought when I got there.

The orphanage is managed by a lovely man by the name of Johannes, who used to be an orphan himself. Not only does the orphanage house children, but it incorporates a school for 350 children who cannot afford to be educated and a nursing home for elderly with absolutely no family.

They make the best of the limited support they receive and do it all with a graceful kindness and so much respect for all those in care.

It’s school holidays at the moment and the children in the orphanage were having an afternoon nap when we arrived. I of course insisted they not be disturbed on my account and was grateful for the opportunity to share time with some of the elderly in care.

Faces lit up during moments of broken english, hand shakes and smiles in sweltering hot rooms of very limited function. I walked around the sections of the men’s and women’s buildings they are trying to improve and open more rooms on the limited funds they have. A half finished ramp to bring wheelchairs from the ground to second floor.. rooms with no fixtures or furniture yet, a basic medical room with no Doctor or nurse on site.

One special new friend proudly showed me his prized tape collection and was so excited to tell an Aussie that ‘Men At Work’ was his favourite while he sat on the busted springs of his mattress next to his boom box.

Guests at The Sanchaya have the opportunity to support the Mr Morris program by purchasing a Mr Morris to take home with them (one for the office for me!) whether they choose to visit or not- and most don’t go I suspect. It’s not for everyone most certainly, however for me, this is how I travel.

The Sanchaya and all of the experiences I have been afforded during my time exploring Bintan will leave a mark on me forever. Very, very grateful.

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later

Discover Your Next Travel Destination

contact us