Lynley Huguenin describes being a Bali bombing victim, 2008

Transcript of interview

We were at Paddy's Bar, on the dance floor. There was a round bar in the middle and the back of the dance floor and the toilets came in off that. And that particular night a person walked in with a bomb strapped in the backpack and detonated it at the back of the dance floor about 1 m away from us ... where we evidently landed and got blown in the air, landed on the other side of the bar. And at that point, when I finally did realise what was going on, I stood up to find myself on fire down one side of my back and neck. And automatically common sense comes to you straight away and the things that you learn in primary school become very clear and I straight away dropped and rolled to extinguish that, and then proceeded to find the girl that I was out with that night, under a bit of rubble. Got her out and luckily for me my immediate instincts were to run and to get out. So we managed to get out on the main road, through all the debris, over the other people and bodies and everything ... that you ... luckily, I don't know, your body was an amazing thing that particular night and decided to ignore a lot of what you actually see and you don't quite remember minor or major details of things that you do see ... And got out onto the main road where a young Balinese boy was there with his mum and he put us on the back of the motorbike and we got back to the hotel and people didn't know what had happened. So we screamed at the hotel staff to let us get up to a room and to get us some help and everybody stood around just looking and staring at these two people that were covered in black soot and dropped-off skin that looked like burnt tyres. And we ran up the stairs to Kim's parents' room and that was when we got the help, and some other people in the hotel came to help us. They took me to a hospital and that's when we started to get the treatment over there.

I had 30 per cent burns to my body, upper body mainly, just due to the clothes that I had on on the night, and shrapnel wounds and holes right through, so bits of glass and debris from the actual building was all shot into us, so I still have little bits of metal that come to the surface occasionally ... but other than that, in Bali they treated us enough to give us a drip to help function in terms of fluid intake and then we were airlifted to Darwin where they made sure that we were fine, gave us new drips and so forth, and then sent to Melbourne where I had all of my skin grafting done there. So they take the skin off other areas of the body that were still OK and they pierce that with little holes to be able to cover larger areas.

So that was where I was in hospital for six weeks in Melbourne, and then wore pressure suits after that for 12 to 18 months. And since then I've chosen myself to go and see a specialist over in Adelaide who does the new technique, the 'spray-on skin'. So he actually buffed back all of the grafting that I had done in Melbourne to give me a smoother finish and then sprayed on new skin over the top of that. So it's probably looking the best that it could in terms of that, but the treatment is ongoing.

I probably wouldn't choose to go through it, but at the same time what I've learnt about myself and strengths and everything, I don't think that I'm a bad person, as in I don't think that I reacted the wrong way. I don't blame Bali as a society. I still continue to work and go there whenever I can. The people are beautiful. It's just the minority that have the belief that this is the way to treat people and to show their point. But, on the whole, I don't find that it's the society's fault or the people's fault that are there. I think that it could happen anywhere. I don't want my children growing up seeing the world in a picture book and not wanting to be able to travel because of the fear of what could happen outside of our four walls. So I don't have any inhibitions in terms of travelling and I don't think that people should grow up thinking that the other side of the world is only something that they'll ever see in that book; that they should get out there and experience life. We can't guarantee that it's not going to happen in our own towns, so you just should continue and show the strength that you have, which is to fight the people that are doing it and to keep travelling and keep doing what you love.