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Bumi Sehat Field Report  ~~~  March & April 2008

Aceh and Bali, Indonesia… Ibu Robin Lim

Tsunami Orphans
Tsunami Orphans send a greeting of peace
with Ibu Robin in Aceh

In the Spider’s words... “I don’t know how... But I’ll help” Wilbur says, “But you’re so small and they’re so big.” Charlotte replies, “That may be so, but I’ll think of something by morning, now you get some rest.” Later Wilbur asks, “Charlotte, should I be worried?” She simply says, “Of course not. What good would that do?”
~~~ E. B. White… Charlotte's Web


Upon my return from the Bumi Sehat Tsunami Relief clinic in Aceh, I sent these words to Midwife Katherine Bramhall. Katherine has been right beside me, even when she is 'home' in Vermont, and I am in Aceh or Bali; she is raising funds, finding ways to get the (NEW CHAPTER) vitamins into Indonesia… she works everyday toward infant survival and safe motherhood for Indonesia. And Katherine is just one of so many many strong good hearts out in the world who are making this service, this miracle possible. I so am really trying not to worry anymore.

Many of you are wondering how the healing of Aceh is going…

It is coming along, in baby steps, and I have come to trust baby steps. The clinic that SE Asia and Ubud Rotary built is busy and beautiful. We were warned that installing a solar power system would just not work, that the maintenance would be impossible. Yet, being where we are in the Tsunami zone, PLN electricity was still a long time coming. So, David Kuper of Ubud Rotary, believing in sustaining the Mother Earth, backed me up on the decision/dream to light the Bumi Sehat clinic with the power of the sun. Many many a night, when PLN and gas generators fail, one can look up and down the west coast of Aceh and see one well lit building, the Bumi Sehat solar powered clinic! Maintenance is not a problem, as Pak Sudung of our permanent team is well trained in keeping it all working well.

I wish everyone reading this could experience the joy I do when team Bumi Sehat Aceh works in the vegetable garden there. Thanks to 108 people who bought tree certificates, we have planted a fruit orchard in Aceh! Three of our team members, Sudung, Marlin and Adi will soon be taking the IDEP Foundation Green Hands Field training 50 km outside of Banda Aceh. This means that our dream of a medical relief clinic that is sustainable and Mother Earth friendly is fully blossoming.

Global warming seems to be affecting the Aceh coastal regions, as all over Samatiga we see new houses built for Tsunami survivors, ankle deep in water. These homes were purposely built on raised land, to avoid the high tides, but alas… the water comes higher and higher with each moon. Roads are constantly flooded. People are constructing little sleeping shacks on stilts, and each rain brings hardship. We are blessed that the Bumi Sehat clinic land remains high and dry. This may be due to the fact that we are just beside a small lake, and the water drains into the wetlands, leaving us well out of the mud. And yes,(Ibu Paula – who purchased the land for us) there are fish in the little lake, blue herons, wild ducks, kingfishers and all sorts of small yellow birds to cheer the women in labor.

In Aceh our capacity building program for local midwives supported by Direct Relief International and BCC is in full swing. The bi-weekly pregnancy exercise, yoga, and nutrition education meetings are attended by pregnant women, by local area midwives, and traditional birth attendants.

In the beginning of April Bumi Sehat hosted an Exclusive Breastfeeding all-day workshop for 40 Acehnese midwives. The Bumi Sehat Exclusive breastfeeding film, sponsored by Body Shop, was aired. The ASI Esklusif Book (thank you Australian Direct Aid Program) was distributed. Our staff cooked a healthy meal for the midwives as an example of sustainable nutrition, it was a huge success.

Other Capacity building successes; our donor sponsored student midwives are blossoming. Yenni is in her second year and spends each vacation day at Bumi Aceh, helping and learning. We have added Dahlia a young Tsunami survivor who lost her father and all her siblings Her mother had borrowed money to begin Dahlia's midwifery education, when we found them there was no money for Dahlia to continue. Thanks to generous donors from Japan, her education is sponsored for the entire duration of her midwifery training. Suastini is moving into her advanced midwifery courses and her sponsor Ibu Janet of Gemala is so proud. Bidan Budi Astuti was also sponsored by Gemala to achieve her midwifery teaching degree.

Midwives and traditional birth attendants at Bumi Sehat Aceh
Midwives and traditional birth attendants at Bumi Sehat Aceh

Capacity Building Workshop with pregnant women

Other Capacity Building intensives:
Two midwives from RS Bunda were trained in a two-week course by our Bumi Sehat midwives in January. Again we trained five midwives in a one-week intensive in March. In April we did the same training for a young Javanese Doctor.

The focus of the in-residence midwifery trainings has been naturally sustainable, culturally-sensitive birth practices that work in the field.

Support of Exclusive Breastfeeding for 6 months, as per the WHO and Indonesian Government mandate.

Our hope is to increase the ability of Indonesian midwives to help high-risk women and babies in times of crisis and/or disaster.

With evidence of the (“SLOW TSUNAMI”)World Food crisis upon us, we feel this is essential training for the people who will help receive the coming generation at their births.

The NYC Rotary ambulance is in use at Bumi Aceh every single day and night.
We are praying for an ambulance for Bumi Sehat Bali.


Currently there is no emergency transport service available in Ubud, except the Bumi Sehat van, our one and only automobile. This van is used for errands, daily we shuttle home the new babies and their mothers (we don’t allow the newborns to travel by motorbike.) When emergencies happen we are on edge, as the van should be on-call whenever there are women in labor. There are always women in labor at Bumi Sehat Bali.

Back in Bumi Sehat's Mother office and clinic in Bali the birth rate is rising like the tides. This may be due to the fact that the government's program of subsidizing partial payment for medical care for the poor has been put on hold for our island. We are so busy that there are just not enough beds. The family of Jasmine Rue, a Bumi Sehat baby, has sponsored the construction of a new birth room. Work has begun and we hope to be moving in by next week. With between 40 and 60 or more births happening here every month, we desperately need the space.

Meanwhile the clock is ticking on the leased land that Bumi Sehat Bali sits on. We are half way to our goal of being able to purchase land. Then we will actively seek funding for construction of a new clinic and permanent home for Bumi Bali. Huge thanks to Michael Franti and Oppie Andaresta for the musical fundraiser, organized by team Bali Spirit and the amazing Megan, Esti, Jen, Rob, Kadek, and so many many more angels.

Bumi Sehat Bali Youth center update… Anyi Raimondi and Sara Estrin have joined Kadek Ariawan and Yanti in developing curriculum and teaching our English and computer courses. They are very excited about teaching English with the Save the Mother Earth Program, sponsored by Bali Buddha. One dark night Sara witnessed a motorbike going down, the driver did not survive. This motivated our team to develop a Motor Cycle Safety course. The one-day intensive for teenagers will involve each of them signing a Safety Contract in exchange for receiving a proper helmet. Sara is also serving as the midwifery team’s personal assistant, which means she does everything!

I must thank all of you for keeping the dream of Bumi Sehat alive, to name a few… Liz Sinclair, Jane Fisher, Frank Wilson, Bruce Grady, Pradheep Chhalliyil, Nita Noor, Lakota, Wil, Zion, Dr. Bobbi and Dr. Soma, Irene, Leon Vrielink, Sara, Kayla, Oppie, Wayan, Chris and Lee Beckom, Katherine Bramhall… and all the amazing volunteers working behind the scenes, my gratitude for the way you keep the team going. Most notably, thank you… Rotary, Direct Relief, BCC, New Chapter Vitamins, the City of Cesano-Moderno, Alexander Langer Foundation, Sakthi Foundation, Body Shop, Australian Aid and Development, friends of "Heidi", YKI - John Fawcette Foundation, Howard Schiffer and the Vitamin Angels, Petra Schneider and IDEP, Michael Franti and Stay Human Foundation, the many people of Fairfield Iowa sending help, Bali Spirit, the Slaughter family, and so many, many wonderful volunteers and donors who support our service. Bumi Sehat survives on donations. Every walk-in “Angel” who brings us money to keep operations going is essential to our projects. When we transport a woman in labor for a necessary cesarean birth, she may not have a floor in her kitchen, but she has the Bumi Sehat “Angels” behind her.

We are happy to congratulate Pak Sudung and Eti on their marriage. May 11th please take a moment to bless Mimi, our Aceh translator, and Leman, Bumi’s amazing nurse... it is their wedding day. These couples met and fell in love while serving on Team Bumi.

When the beautiful new Rotary sponsored clinc in Aceh was under construction, people said that we were crazy to make a birth tub, for no Tsunami survivor would want to give birth in the water. Well… our midwives from Italy, Liza Forasacco and Maria Dalle Pezze, along with Bidan Mega and Bidan Yanti of Sumatra are catching babies in the water! Yes, it is a healing, and a miracle everyday at Bumi Sehat.

Allhumdullilah, Om Shanti, Blessings and Gratitude… As I write this a new baby boy, just born in a tub of flowers is having his first go at breastfeeding. This is how we serve and love, this is how we are astonished each minute at Bumi Sehat.

~~~ Ibu Robin

Wayan, born into a pool of flowers at Bumi Sehat Bali

Visit our website:

List of Bumi Sehat "Needs" - in order of priority:

  • Maintenance of current services ie operational funds for Bali Clinic, Aceh Clinic and Bali Youth Center.
  • On going medical supplies
  • Ambulance for Bali
  • Purchase land for new clinic
  • Find sponsors to build the new Bumi Bali clinic

Future (as soon as possible):

  • Build the "Ark" a warehouse for disaster relief supplies.
  • Consider opening a Bumi Sehat Birth Center in Timor L'Este where the maternal mortality rate is highest in Asia.

Bumi Sehat Bali so far in 2008
222 Births
Jan: 34
Feb: 67
April: 77
plus we have 2 more in labor and a
few days to go in the month!


Sakthi Foundation
1507 Lone Oak Circle,
Fairfiled, Iowa 52556

Alternatively you may choose to transfer donations
directly to our account in Indonesia:

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