The soundtrack in Sukadana is thunder rolling and roosters crowing. I hear gibbons and children welcoming the day with their shouts and songs as I walk to the clinic in the morning and I hear chickens rustling in the leaves as I rinse with the cool water of the mandi in the open air shower. I learn to listen for motorbikes as I ride my bicycle in the cool breezes of the evenings and slowly start interpreting the rolling r’s of the Bahasa that is spoken around me each day.
In the last week at ASRI, I have watched Dr. Nur tell a happy mother that she is seven weeks pregnant, and sat with widows as they asked questions about building goat shelters and what kinds of grass to use for feed. I have planted a tree in the forest
with ASRI Kids and traded stories and ideas with ASRI staff and volunteers over fresh fruit.
As I walked through the reforestation site on Thursday with Kari, our Director of International Volunteer Programs, who started with ASRI and Health In Harmony by working on the same site years ago, I thought about how poignant the phrase ‘fruits of your labor’ is if your labor is to plant trees that do actually bear fruit. I joined Health In Harmony in June, and it is exhilarating to see the places, people and programs I have worked for in the past eight months. But, I am even more excited for Monday, when we will welcome a group of Health In Harmony supporters to ASRI, to see the fruits of their time and treasure that they have invested over years. Donors are the fuel of Health In Harmony and ASRI, and I cannot wait to share with these women the moments when they meet the people whose lives they’ve changed and walk through the forest they have conserved and replanted. I have been here just one week and have already seen how powerful that experience and connection is. It is something I hope to share with, not only the people arriving in a few days, but with more of you in the Health In Harmony family.