Thank you for your interest in joining Health In Harmony in supporting the work of Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Below are some answers to questions that are frequently asked by prospective volunteers:
- Due to limited space, we accept only highly skilled volunteers. That means we cannot accommodate medical students and undergraduates at this time.
- Travel from the US to Sukadana usually takes a minimum of 2 days, so short trips are unfeasible. We ask for a minimum time commitment of 4 weeks.
- Many visitors from the United States have found their living conditions in Indonesia quite rugged compared to the comforts they have at home. You will probably share a house with Indonesian staff members. The program has rented some of the nicest houses in town for staff members, but these houses would still be considered rough by Western standards. They have squat toilets and pumped water, and are open to breezes. Sometimes insects and small animals find their way in. Trash is burned near the houses.
- Indonesian food is naturally vegetarian-friendly, and most meals include tempeh or tofu as well as a vegetable dish.
- ASRI staff members use bicycles for local transportation (between the houses and clinic and to the market). The project usually has bicycles available for volunteers as well. Life in Sukadana necessitates squatting, sitting on the floors, bicycling, stepping in and out of boats, or walking up to a few miles at a time, so volunteers need to be physically strong and flexible.
- Sukadana is a conservative Muslim area. Respect in Indonesia is shown by dressing nicely. Respect for the beliefs of the community is an important principal at ASRI and visitors must dress accordingly (long pants or skirts, ¾-long sleeve shirts. Headscarves are not necessary).
- There is wireless internet in the clinic, but it can be slow and is not reliable as it goes out when the electricity goes out or when it is raining heavily. Volunteers are asked to bring their own computers.
- Indonesia has a number of communicable diseases. In the area of our program, malaria and TB are common. Dengue fever is present but uncommon. Diarrhea is extremely common. With the exception of TB and dengue, you can avoid these diseases through immunizations, proper hygiene, and careful supervision of what and where you eat and drink.
- Volunteers who smoke cigarettes cannot be accommodated.
- Most of our volunteers have found their time in Sukadana to be one of the best experiences of their lives despite its occasional difficulty (or maybe because of it).
If you are interested in volunteering your time and talents to improve global heath in rural Indonesia, follow this link to the ASRI-Indonesia volunteering page. Additionally, feel free to contact International Volunteer Coordinator Kari Malen.