Balidiscovery.com has learned of the death of Bob Monkhouse, who succumbed to a respiratory infection on Sunday, November 8, 2009, in his adopted home of Bali.
.A "friend of Bill" who formed alcoholic anonymous groups in Bali in the late '1990s, Monkhouse also help found Bali Health Foundation (YAKEBA) in 1999. YAKEBA embraced the philosophy that people who have lived with drug or alcohol problems or are afflicted with HIV/AIDS are those best equipped to help fellow sufferers.
In June 2008, YAKEBA received the prestigious Red Ribbon Awards by the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in acknowledgement of its successful community action programs mounted in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
Working with the stigma of criminality often associated with drug users and alcoholics in Indonesia, Bob was a tireless champion in ensuring his flock were given a second, third, or as many chances as they needed to make their life's work. A man who successfully managed to free himself from a ten year addiction to narcotics, psychotropic drugs and alcohol - Bob Monkhouse pioneered a movement in Bali for the rehabilitation of drug addicts.
Bali became a focus and steady beacon in Bob's life. He first came to Bali in 1974 and immediately fell in love with the island that was to become his adopted home. Over the years, Monkhouse taught English and worked in the Indonesian oil patch in order to accumulate the money needed to purchase a small Inn in Tabanan.
During this same period Bob also acquired a substance dependency which, at its very depths, caused him to question the value of his existence. Fortunately, with the help of others, Bob reclaimed his life the only way an addict can - one day at a time.
Monkhouse believed that in order to truly live, one must almost die. Accordingly, he viewed the days prior to his addiction as "normal" and those after his recovery as "normal plus."
Bob's personal road of redemption dates from his attendance at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Ubud in 1997. Fluent in Indonesian, Bob saw the absence of any Indonesians at the AA meetings as a worrying sign of an unmet need within the community, prompting him to organize the first Indonesian language gatherings that eventually touched the lives of hundreds of Indonesians. In 1998, AA meetings for Indonesians started in Seminyak eventually drawing tens of participants at every gathering and a realization for Monkhouse that drugs, rather than alcohol dependency, were the main problem in Bali's shopping and nightlife Mecca on the island's south.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings eventually morphed into Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The "12 steps" of personal redemption drew hundreds, many of whom remain "clean" to this day.
Recognizing a genuine need within the Balinese community, YAKEBA also brought its program to Bali's largest prison, providing counseling and support for prisoners both during the period of their incarceration an after their release. To create employment for former prisoners YAKEBA set up a small business enterprise that produced chocolates, candles, incense and advertising banners.
Acknowledged by the Indonesian government for its important contribution in the war on narcotics, the National Narcotics Board (BNN), provided support to establish a halfway house for former addicts.
Bob Monkhouse will be mourned and missed by his many friends in Bali and the hundreds of people whose lives he helped get back on track.
Bob Monkhouse's cremation will take place in Bali at Taman Mumbul at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 10, 2009. Prior to burial his body lies in state at the Rumah Duka Rumah Sakit Angkatan Darat in downtown Denpasar.
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