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.”

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Between July 6 and August 9, Etty Rahmawati, ASRI’s Conservation Education & Outreach Manager, gained as many insights into the USA, her volunteer, staff and Board hosts as we gained inspiration from her and connection to something bigger. That something bigger is Alam Sehat Lestari, healthy nature everlasting, or ASRI, beautiful, and ASRI Kids, the program inspired by volunteers and led by Etty.  This is a story about those connections and why they are the very fiber of what we do and why it works. It is also a story about raising funds for the future: While on the west coast, Etty helped raise more than $10,000 between a ZACC grant and our generous Health In Harmony family of donors.  Will you help match the gift and help support ASRI Kids and its promise for the future? You are our connection to success.

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Morning meeting is packed with ASRI staff and the delegation from Dining for Women who arrive this morning bearing gifts of medical supplies, medical library books, hundreds of eyeglasses, medicines and medical supplies adding to the already delivered ski bag of aluminum crutches and ambulatory boots. Name your most wonderful holiday tradition, and multiply it by 10 and you have a sense of the joy in clinic that morning. Morning meeting is also packed with final preparations for Green Day tomorrow (April 25) at the Lamong Satong nursery, about 90 minutes from Sukadana. More to follow! The excitement of all is palpable as the 12 women that are here are here because of a very generous $33,000 grant from Dining for Women in support of the Goats for Widows program.

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Immediately upon our arrival, the neighborhood kids congregate on the blue-tile front porch of the modest concrete brick home.  The house had been Kari and Loren’s who left six months ago to return to the states after having lived, worked and volunteered for ASRI for 3 years We’ve returned for 3 weeks to host a group of women from Dining for Women but know that there is so much more we are here for as well.

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