Six Weeks Changed My Life

Guest blog by Dr. Abhimanyu "Manu" Uberoi

Extremely eager to embark on a once in a lifetime experience, I was elated when I found out I was accepted to the Yale/Stanford Johnson & Johnson Global Health Scholars Program, and even more excited that I got my first choice: Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). Once there, I was flabbergasted and able to appreciate what HIH/ASRI  is really about. During the first week, my jaw was nearly on the floor, as I was so impressed with the institution established. The complex, community centered, multifaceted organization with all its projects: the reforestation group, the Forest Guardians, the Goats for Widows project, organic farming, DOTs, and Clinic were all intertwined.

Volunteers and Staff, including myself (Manu) at ASRI Clinic. Photo courtesy of Christina Fitch.

Morning meeting at ASRI is an amazing expression of the HIH/ASRI model. The way that Dr. Kinari and Dr. Hotlin have established an egalitarian organization, where morning meetings more closely resemble a democracy as opposed to a corporation, where every morning everyone: nurses, doctors, drivers, the cook and volunteers are involved in discussing plans for how to move all the ASRI projects forward, while concurrently and collectively accomplishing the underlying goal of ASRI-- to save the environment and provide affordable, accessible healthcare to the local communities.

I am a simple man of medicine with a huge interest in the mission that HIH and ASRI are pushing forward. I am astounded by the accomplishments that this organization has made thus far, optimistic about the impending projects and confident that there are many great things to come. I only hope that we (I am using the word we, in the collective sense, as I now feel like a part of the ASRI family) can share the message and mission of Health In Harmony and ASRI with every other like-minded individual who may not have the luxury of spending six weeks here like I did.

Accordingly, the brilliance and altruism of HIH/ASRI is to be celebrated as together the HIH/ASRI organization, our local Indonesian families, staff and volunteers continue to work so hard to be the change we want to see.

About Abhimanyu Uberoi

Manu volunteered as a Medical Resident at the ASRI Clinic through the Johnson & Johnson Global Scholars Program at Stanford University in 2012.

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