Help Tsunami-Torn Indonesia (It'll Be Fun)

by Laura Cohn, for the Shuttle

In one of the final episodes of “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain visited Indonesia, bringing new audiences to this complex nation half a world away. He focused not only on its land, people and food, but also on the complementary dualities of light and darkness, good and evil, and — most poignantly — life and death, as manifested in shadow-puppet performances and the everyday life of the Balinese. Today in Indonesia, these dualities are especially fresh, with the impact of the September earthquake and tsunami on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Yet the spirit of Indonesians — in their home country or ours — is resilient, and they are emotionally and financially supporting friends, family and total strangers.

You can learn more about Indonesia at my annual popup store, From Bali to Bala, with opportunities to enjoy Indonesian food and dances, hear Gamelan music, watch a moving feminist documentary film, “The Peace Agency,” about Sulawesi itself and peruse a broad array of Indonesian crafts. In addition, this year, I am donating 10% of all sales to the nonprofit Institute Mosintuwu in Poso, Sulawesi, to help with rebuilding. Additional support will be be provided to The New Sanctuary Movement to help immigrants gain access to justice here in the United States. 

In this way, through our show’s fundraisers, outreach and sales, we can all help those in desperate need, both in our country and in Indonesia. 

From Bali to Bala, 8532 Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, opens Nov. 2 and runs through Dec. 24. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday-Monday. For a full list of special events, visit

For over 30 years, batik artist Laura Cohn has adopted Indonesia as her second home, with connections there and in Philadelphia’s own Indonesian diaspora community.