I'm writing on my last day at ASRI. Here, I have spent and experienced time with the staff that has infinitely doubled my appreciation for their dedication. And, along with Kari Malen, HIH's extraordinary Volunteer Director, have spent nearly 7 days with 12 women representing Dining for Women who have equally doubled my appreciation for courage and what can be accomplished by a few dedicated people whose hearts are as big as the Gunung Palung rainforest and National Park no matter what side of the world they're from. And it's not just their collective passion that is as inspiring as it is humbling, it is that they truly "just do it."
After 5 years of life in Asia – 3 of which were spent at ASRI – being back stateside is strange.
No doubt, there is much to relish - rekindling spirits with family and friends, eating foods that don't appear in Bornean village markets, driving a car anywhere at anytime of the day. But the most striking piece that I keep coming back to is the disconnect I feel here in anytown, America. I find myself wondering, where do we find community?
Green Day – an ASRI community event to celebrate reforestation efforts - was an unprecedented success! On February 16, about 400 people came and each planted a seedling. High-ranking public officials planted side by side with school children. But more than the planting, the celebration of the forest was overwhelming: songs and poems performed, education about the species of plants and methods of planting, and then a tour of the replanted hectares showing all the progress since 2009.