This is the first in a series of posts from guest blogger Jane Lester. Jane is a pediatrician from Seattle who spent five weeks with our pilot program Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). She shared with us her experiences planting native rainforest trees, working with ASRI doctors and living at the clinic.

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Medical transportation is one of the most significant barriers to treatment for rural communities in Borneo. ASRI's ambulances help break down that barrier. But there's no need to sell timber to pay for the ambulance ride -- in fact, many patients pay for these bring more seedlings to our reforestation sites.

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QCD? DAF? How to make sense of the jargon and keep protecting our planet with your charitable donation!

You’ve made it through another tax season! But with the recent changes to the standard deduction and other rules, you may be concerned about continuing to make an impact on the causes you love -- like Health In Harmony and saving rainforests with a stethoscope. The good news is: there are a few options you might not know about!

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Last month, ASRI hosted their second weekend-long Planetary Health Camp! Students from four different villages (Simpang Hilir, Teluk Batang, Seponti and Sukadana) came to ASRI to participate in the program. A total of forty-three campers got the chance to hike through the rainforest, perform hands-on experiments, and learn about climate change and the environment.

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In 2018, 4,894 individual patients accessed healthcare at ASRI including general medical treatment, dental care, maternal and child care, and more. During the year, patients paid for healthcare with over 18,000 rain forest seedlings of 59 species.

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New calculations show that Chainsaw Buyback has saved over 15,000 old growth trees since the project began in 2017.  

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On January 11th, 45 students and planetary health camp participants from SMAN 1 Sukadana and SMK Al Aqwam visited ASRI. First, they watched a short movie about Climate Change.

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ASRI Kids Planting Trees Together

“The last rule is to have fun,” said Amat, a member of ASRI's Planetary Health Education Staff, standing in front of 29 students of ASRI Kids, all eagerly waiting to leave for their field trip.

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Filmmaker Jocelyn Stokes has been in Indonesia since November 2018 working on capturing the work of Health In Harmony and ASRI. This interview was conducted between Health In Harmony and Jocelyn about the project and her experience so far.

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This essay was written by Lucia Amieva-Wang, Co-Founder of ASRI kids, for her college application. 

On my sixteenth birthday I got a cake in the face, I was chased into the South China ocean, and surprised by sixteen of my best friends hiding behind the furniture of our little house in Sukadana. We sang songs into the night and then all sixteen slept over because no one wanted to say goodbye. Six of us slept in the double bed, toes poking out from under the mosquito net; the rest on the living room floor. There was nothing more I could ask for.

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In just a month, midwife Dewi has transformed the village of Beloyang Juoi. Read More
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The best way to learn about something is to experience it. This is exactly what students from around Sukadana had the opportunity to do at the first ever Planetary Health Camp, hosted by the ASRI Planetary Health Education Team. Over the weekend of November 10th, students were introduced to the ASRI program, planetary health, climate change, and biodiversity in Gunung Palung National Park and the Borneo Rainforest. Read More
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Alexiandrea Borden is a photographer who has donated her incredible prints for ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center. They are featured prominently in ASRI's patient areas and community meeting room, reminding staff and visitors that our shared climate means icebergs in Greenland rely on healthy rain forests in Borneo - as trees fall, the ice melts. Her work has even inspired our ASRI Teens to begin conservation outreach in local shops!

Today, Alexiandrea shares her experience below of photographing these icy wonders and has made her prints available for you to order from our Gift Shop! We will continue to add more of her beautiful photos to our shop over time, and please let us know if you find one you love that's not available yet.

COME SAILING THROUGH ICEBERGS WITH HEALTH IN HARMONY AND ASRI!

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In this guest blog post, Dr. Sarah Walpole reflects on her experience visiting our Indonesian partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and participating in their Mobile Clinic program.

In the village

Our day started as usual with the 8 am meeting at ASRI in Sukadana. Then, Docter Ela, the driver and I climbed into the car and set out. We stopped to collect Efan, the nurse, and Aulia, the pharmacist, from their homes. Soon after, we stopped at a council office to collect a projector. In a village further on our car was joined by that of the team who would be projecting a film about orangutans and forest protection to the waiting patients.

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This month marked the first round of patient visits for Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI)'s mobile clinic team in their new truck! The mobile clinic team climbed aboard and headed to a small village called Pangkalan Jihing.  Loaded up with blood pressure monitors, eyeglasses, dental equipment, and everything in between, the new truck was ready for its long ride through the forest.

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We asked our partners at Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) about the impact of the recent earthquake in Indonesia.  Below is the response sent from Nur Febriani, ASRI's Executive Director:

Dear brothers and sisters at Health in Harmony,  

I am sure you have heard about the recent big disaster in Indonesia.
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We sat down with Dr. Nomi, a 5 year veteran of the clinic at Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), our Indonesian partner organization. She recently left ASRI to return home and continue her studies, with the goal of becoming a radiologist. But before she moved on, Dr. Nomi shared insights from her experience treating patients and transforming lives at ASRI.

Q: Can you share some of the things you’ve learned?
Dr. Nomi:  Here, I learned to treat not only the patient, but the family. Because the patients sometimes aren’t the only one who need to be taken care of.  I learned to not just see the patient as a patient, but as a human – as someone who lives with their family and their environment. [I learned] to see the whole web of connections with that patient, their environment, and their condition.

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We're sharing this beautifully written guest post from Maleeha Malik, a recent visitor to our Indonesian partners Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI). Maleeha describes her visit and ASRI's life changing impact. The original post can be found on Maleeha's blog: Ke Mana? Stories from Asia

"Two weeks ago, I visited Alam Sehat Lestari, or ASRI for short, an NGO in West Kalimantan that is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare for communities around Gunung Palung National Park. The name Alam Sehat Lestari literally translates to ‘nature healthy sustainable’; ASRI translates to ‘beautiful’. It is exactly this idea of linking healthcare to a healthy environment that ASRI is trying to promote."

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Have you ever heard of a hospital that grows its own vegetables? Our partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) not only grows trees to plant in the rainforest - they also grow fruit and vegetables!  ASRI's garden, which is currently being re-designed and expanded, also showcases organic gardening techniques to families who want to learn.
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Staff at our pilot program Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) have witnessed a dramatic decrease in logging in Gunung Palung National Park over the past 11 years. By offering affordable health care and training in organic agriculture, ASRI has enticed almost all of the loggers who used to operate in the park to put away their chainsaws for good. But that has left a minority - about 12% of logging households according to our latest calculations - who have continued to log.
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