I want to send you some love medicine. I want to share with you some of the amazing healing that has been happening in Borneo over the last five years.
I am stunned by the changes we've accomplished with your help.
In just five years you and I took a beautiful idea and made it a reality. We created a model for conservation that combines the health of people with the health of the environment. With our survey results coming through (soon to be posted on the website) we now know that it works!
This is what we did. We started with the roots of strong principles: all life on earth is precious, diversity is a strength, and by working together we can find solutions to the crises that face our planet.
Next we built a strong trunk of listening to, and working with, the local communities.
And this is what these communities have figured out: there are four key branches that are necessary for good health: a healthy natural environment, access to good healthcare, healthy ways to make a living, and knowledge.
We have found that when we have addressed all four, magic has happened -- a beautiful tree has grown. This tree is one where people have access to high quality health care that they can pay for with seedlings for reforestation, where illegal loggers are becoming organic farmers, and children and adults from all over the world are learning about the importance of protecting our planet for all of our future. That tree is habitat for orangutans who live in the rain forest here and shades and give water to the people here.
The fruits are a dramatic drop in both infant mortality and illegal logging. Of course we have not done this alone, but a significant portion of the loggers in our sample of households told us that they quit logging because of our work, and more have said they have considered stopping. Stay tuned for the numbers!
Two people said it best at our 5th anniversary celebration, to which over 300 people came. Pak Bastarin, the head of one of the villages we work with said:
"I still remember five years ago when we started having meetings with ASRI and we were asked to help design the program... back then I think there were more than 100 people in our village doing illegal logging, now there are less than 10. ... One of the effects I have seen of ASRI is that more people are working doing organic farming. It used to be that people didn't farm because they didn't have the start up money to buy fertilizer, but now they don't need to borrow money, they can just make the fertilizer themselves. All along the road that five years ago was just grassland there are now organic vegetable farms and some people are planting rubber trees."
And Pak Mak Lut, one of the people who became an organic farmer, said:
"We were shocked to find out we could make fertilizer from just the trash around us, even from animal poop! Honestly, when we were first taught these things, we didn't really believe them, but now we have seen it be a huge success and we are selling our organic rice for twice the normal price and it costs less to grow. We are now even selling our rice in Ketapang [the nearest big city] and we are so grateful to ASRI for teaching us. If I had just been told how to do it and not shown in the field, I don't think I could have learned these methods."
Like the widow who two years ago got two goats and now has eight goats that belong to her and two she gave to other widows in need, the fruits of this work just keep multiplying.
We are committed to replicating the model around the world. To date we've shown well over 100 American and Indonesian healthcare professionals the power of "Health In Harmony," that it is possible to combine human and environmental health. This is healthcare to heal the planet.
Please support this magic work. And I promise, with your help, that five years from now we will accomplish even more, including a teaching hospital to train international medical staff to grow this tree all around the world.In doing so, you honor the earth which gives us life, value working together all over the planet, and share your blessings with others so they can share theirs with you. By supporting this work financially you give back to the communities here who, in return, protect rainforest that helps make all of our futures healthier and better.
Best wishes from Borneo,