Guest blog by Arvian Heidir
Meet members of the ASRI team through this beautiful photo series by supporter, Arvian Heidir.
It was late afternoon on May 15, 2017. I just arrived at the Sukadana dock from a 5-hour speedboat ride from Pontianak when two friendly smiles greeted me. It was my first time meeting Mbak Etty Rahmawati of Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and Sara Helms of Health In Harmony (HIH) IRL (in real life). After helping me to get my bags, Pak Yusuf Hamdani, one of ASRI’s driver, drove all of us to one of the ASRI staff housing, where I would be staying for the next five days.
I was on my three-month leave of absence when I visited ASRI clinic. Although I was born and raised in Indonesia, this was my first time visiting the town of Sukadana in West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. I have been living in the US for the past 20 years and working in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley, CA for the past 17.
I first learned about HIH and ASRI in February of 2014, at an event in Los Gatos, CA -- a friend had invited me to take photos at the event. Dr. Kinari Webb discussed her work to save orangutans and rainforests. I was particularly intrigued by her success in using radical listening to help ASRI come up with programs and solutions that work for the local communities. I made some donations and started following Dr. Webb’s works.
This year, I decided to get involved a little bit more. I became an Ironwood, committing myself to donate monthly, and contacted HIH’s Amy Krzyzek to visit ASRI clinic. She connected me to Mbak Etty and Martini Morris, and the three of them helped me plan my itinerary.
In Sukadana, besides touring the newly built ASRI clinic, the ASRI team was also gracious enough to take me to meet the local community as part of ASRI kitchen gardens and goats for widows programs. We also went to visit one of ASRI reforestation sites at Laman Satong.
I am glad I visited the ASRI clinic in Sukadana. Besides learning about various ASRI programs, I made a lot of friends. Every one of them is passionate about their work to save one of the lungs of our planet. One of the most memorable stories I learned is how two of the conservation staff, Pak Muhammad Yusuf (Bang Jili) and Pak Agus Supianto, decided to fund the operation of the organic farm and training center with their own money when ASRI was focusing the majority of its resources for the completion of the clinic.
I’m a proud supporter of HIH and ASRI. I encourage you to learn more about their programs, including Journey to Borneo and Goats for Widows, and join me in supporting their important work for healthy people and a healthy planet.
Below are portraits of some of the Heroes of Sukadana. These doctors, conservation staffs, and community members work hard to provide affordable healthcare in the community, prevent further deforestation, and restore Borneo’s rainforest while also improving the local economy.