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2013 Bumi Sehat Foundation - Annual Field Report
by Ibu Robin Lim

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Bumi Sehat

2012 Field Report

Bumi Sehat Field Report: Welcoming 2012 in Gratitude

Robin Lim has always used Homeopathy at her midwifery centres and has Arnica Montana products and Helios Childbirth kits in the Bali clinic after kate's visit there several years ago

Sitting here, enjoying the cloud filled sky of Bali, Mt. Agung in the distance, and rain gathering for her afternoon shower upon us, I am close to tears, because I am writing to so many people I truly love. Finding time to make this letter has been a challenge; we midwives have been on-call day and night, non-stop. And we LOVE it. This morning, between seeing the postpartum Moms and Babies (there were six new Babies born in the last 24 hours at Bumi Sehat Bali), Wayan Minitari came in and quickly had her second baby. My favorite way to start the day, a baby before breakfast!

In the quiet of waiting for two more moms in labor, I am taking the time to finally write to ALL of you who support Bumi Sehat and say: THANK YOU. Because of each one of YOU, 2011 has been an amazing year. As I write, a white crane flies by, and today Bali feels like paradise, but believe me, when a mother is hemorrhaging, and we know that without transfusions of replacement blood, which your donations pay for, it is far from paradise in Indonesia. When a child needs rabies injections, for a disease which is 100% fatal, should we ignore the need for help; when a malnourished mother's life is threatened when she retains her placenta; when a one year old girl needs surgery for a hole in her heart; all day-to-day occurrences here... You are the Heroes that preserve life, because you make it all possible.

It was a complete miracle that those of you who love Bumi Sehat, and believe that Healthcare is a Human right, and are concerned for the Mothers, Children, and Families of the world, were able to elect me as the CNN Hero of the Year!! Words like "Thank you", "Appreciation", "Gratitude", are just words... and I am so overwhelmed with inspiration, that words are just NOT enough... but yes ~ Thank YOU.

The lifesaving Midwife~to~Mother model of gentle care is now in the hearts and minds of many millions of people, thanks to YOU. Of the hundreds of thousands of patients Bumi Sehat has helped, nearly none of them have computers. Yet due to the devotion of the organization [LINK: http://login.akarumput.com/t/r-l-ddxfl-qhlhlhlil-r/] Akarumput (which means Grass~Roots: a collection of people in Indonesia who call themselves Earth~Walkers), Bruce Grady with Sakthi Foundation in Iowa, Katherine & Devin Bramhall of Bumi Sehat International in Vermont, Villa Gaia and Ayana in Bali, literally hundreds of thousands of people now know about Bumi Sehat.

The significant amount of money gained from the CNN accolade is enough to begin building the new clinic, which we desperately need in Bali. Our existing clinic, which we have lovingly occupied for eight years now, is deteriorating rapidly, becoming a hazard to staff and patients, and the lease is finished in 3½ years. All of you, with the help of Michael Franti's music and huge heart, have secured the land we need. With the CNN money, we are going to break ground for the new clinic as soon as possible. In order to build a health-center that is earthquake resistant, self-sustaining and big enough for Bumi's growing patient load, we need to raise $700,000 more dollars. In addition, we must still continue to raise the operational funds to keep Bumi's many projects going. Sign up to Buni Sehat newsletter to continue reading


ROBIN LIM: 2011 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Robin Lim, an American woman who has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and birth, was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year on Sunday night.

Through her Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinics, "Mother Robin," or "Ibu Robin" as she is called by the locals, offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid in Indonesia, where many families cannot afford care.

"Every baby's first breath on Earth could be one of peace and love. Every mother should be healthy and strong. Every birth could be safe and loving. But our world is not there yet," Lim said during "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and recognized Lim and the other top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011.

Many women in the developing world do not have access to contraception or maternal care. According to the United Nations Population Fund, three out of five women giving birth in South Asia do so without a skilled birth attendant on hand.

View Lim wins CNN's Hero of the Year video


Bumi Sehat Aceh Field Report – March ~ April 2009- Ibu Robin Lim


The Bupati (Governor) of West Aceh visits us at Klinik Bumi Sehat

The people of Aceh wake to a huge pink sky, and they look toward the sea.  The sea, that forever looking backward in history, has been the people’s source of sustenance.  The sea they harvested giving them work and the poetry of food, it has been their art, their life.

They look at the calm sea today and they remember the day of betrayal, of salty tears, December 26th 2004.  At just about 8 a.m. an earthquake measuring 9.3 on the richter scale struck. It was a terrible earthquake, but the people of Aceh had long lived with the shaking of their Sumatran foundations.

Then the sea betrayed them, a Tsunami.  Not one wave but many, growing bigger and blacker and filling with all the churned broken belongings of modern life. Roiling with police cars, sheets of metal and glass, hunks of cement, furniture, Animals still trapped in their cages, people, people who were quickly becoming corpses, by the hundreds of thousands. 

By sunset, when the waters began to finally recede the rebel nation of Aceh, that had faced the hardships of generations of civil war, was diminished beyond recognition.

Villages lost 30%, 50%, 70%, 90% of their citizens.  But it would be a long time before they would know the extent of their loss.  On the eve of Dec. 26th, 2004 the survivors were thirsty.  They were looking for their children, their spouses, their mothers and fathers.  They were naked, but for the mud.  They were itchy.  The night was coming and they wondered; would there be more waves?

Beginning in the first few weeks of the aftermath of the Tsunami, Bumi Sehat has maintained a clinic for the survivors.  We came to Samatiga with a team from IDEP and WALHI foundations.  We stretched tarps over bamboo and began to see patients.  We worked with our sister NGOs to establish water supply, dig pit toilets, usurp tents for people living in the open, some of Team Bumi, my own grown children, recovered bodies. 

Today in the 4th year of what we hopefully call, “recovery” and pray is truly “healing”, Bumi Sehat maintains and operates a beautiful proper free clinic for the people of Aceh.  The beautiful land a gift from “Paula”, the clinic facility built and furnished by the generosity of Rotary S.E. Asia and Ubud, and currently maintained with operational funds from Direct Relief International plus generous help from smaller donors, friends and family all over the world, is busy and lively and lit with the warm dependable power of the sun. (thank you solar energy)


Baby Ifra enjoying being carried traditionally in a selendag donated by our friends at HUGS!

For the first two years following the Tsunami I spent more time in Aceh than I did at home with my family.  Team Bumi Sehat Bali galvanized itself to maintain it’s beautiful growing services in Bali, while logistically supporting their team members going to the dangerous geologically and politically unstable disaster zone, that had once been the proud, jeweled coastline of Aceh.  It was a hard time of desperately treating Tsunami wounds that would not heal.  We fought a war with malaria, dengue fever, unidentified skin conditions unique to the thousands of patients we saw, who had been swept away in the violent stinking Tsunami water.  We delivered babies, because that is What Bumi Sehat does best.

Slowly over the months and years we moved from tents and tarp clinic to a rumbia roofed hut with four rooms, built by the IDEP/WALHI team from trees felled by the Tsunami.  Eventually IDEP found funding to build us a wooden clinic in Gampong Cot, in view of the sea, very close to the epicenter of the disaster.  Finally Dear “Paula” purchased enough land for Bumi Sehat, and the Rotary brought in the miracle, a proper earthquake resistant clinic.  Over 12,000 grieving Tsunami survivors live within walking distance of Bumi Sehat’s clinic, many more borrow vehicles and come in groups from great distances, traveling hours, seeking kind, clean, free, conscientious medical care.  Dr. Eman, Nurses Liman and Bankit, Midwives Mega, Liza and Sumi, supported by a beautiful team, live and work on site, contributing significantly to the healing of Aceh.

When the small propeller plane my husband Wil and I take to come “home” to Aceh lands on the Meulaboh airstrip, I choke back tears.  Ijal and Eti, faithful team members who themselves survived the Tsunami, are waiting. “Ibu Robin, a mother in labor is waiting for you at the clinic.”

We travel over a road that was once a moonscape and wonder at how smooth it has become, thanks to International Aid.  The trip back to the clinic was once 2 ½ to 3 hours, today we arrive in 45 minutes.  Meliza is in labor with her first child.  By dinnertime she has had a lovely waterbirth.  The smiling midwives, working with traditional midwife Ibu Juariah settle Miliza and her tiny baby daughter into a clean bed to breastfeed.  The extended family will spend the night.  Our cooks bring plates filled to feed them all.


Water birth for Tsunami Survivors at Bumi Sehat Bali

That evening, over simple spicy rice and fish dinner the staff speaks of how the conflict in Aceh has settled since the peace treaty in 2006.  There is no sound of gunfire in the distance, yet there have been ‘incidents’ recently, reminders that war is always a threat the Acehnese live with.  Thunder rolls in and it begins to rain as it can only rain in Sumatra, huge rain with drops the size of pennies.  Even the clinic ducks are running for cover.

By 2 a.m. we midwives are called out to the village of Pinem.  Ibu Asya is the traditional village midwife in attendance.  She is worried as Ita Ristani, having her 5th baby at home is not doing so well.  Something feels wrong.

The Bumi midwives recognize this mom and hope that her due dates were wrong, as she would be having this child 9 weeks early.  Ita’s other four children are hiding in the next room of the wooden house, dimly lit with a kerosene lantern, newspaper is stuffed in the cracks between boards to keep out the wind.  Ita’s husband is walking in the yard, littered with trash, smoking a nipa cigarette.

Ita moans, with a woosh a salty amniotic sea breaks loose and in that one push the tiny baby is washed out of her mother.  It is too soon. I scoop her up and she cries weakly as I lay her on her mother’s now concave belly.  This Baby’s tiny hands and feet have no creases, she is far too premature, Allah has not had time to draw the lines of her fate.  We call the father and ask him to sing the prayer songs of Islam to his tiny daughter.  He gives her the name, Fitri, her tiny heart is slowing.  We gently explain this to the parents.  I wonder, if this child had been born in a modern hospital with a neonatal unit, would she have a chance?  My wondering can’t change the fact that we are here, in a wooden house, where the family will eat cold rice and dried fish in the morning.  Transporting this baby to the hospital in Meulaboh would be of no use at all.

Ita tries to breastfeed but the baby who has no reflexes, we make a hot water bottle to keep Baby warm.  I know she will not stay with us long.  I lay down beside Ita, with the baby between us.  An hour and 47 minutes after her birth, Ita tells me, Ibu Robin, Fitri is cold.”  I listen, there is no longer a heartbeat.  We cry together as the sunrises, it is so pink and purple, we all feel bruised by this morning. 


Max from Leap Now taking BP for Pak Saiid who is in his 80s

The day is filled with clinic duties.  A man in his 80s has been picked up by our ambulance, he has been unable to eat for nearly three weeks without vomiting.  He is dehydrated, Max our new medic volunteer from “Leap Now” puts in an IV line with Liman.

The ambulance also picks up a 17 year old girl, who looks like she is glowing with health, but she has had headaches and nausea and fainting spells.  Her blood pressure jumps from 100/80 when she is conscious to 130/90 when she passes out, a mystery. We admit her.

3 a.m. March 5th the midwives are called out by village midwife Sadhia.  We arrive quickly at the home of Fitri, who has had prenatal care with us, and has attended the pregnancy education and exercise classes held weekly at Bumi Sehat. 

Fitri lives in the concrete swamp getto that was once the fair city of Kuala Bubon.  The little cement houses, built with relief funds, teeter on stilts, with rows of others, surrounded by the wetlands created by the Tsunami.

Just at dawn a little daughter is born,  robust and healthy.  Allhamdullilah!


Meliza breastfeeding her first baby and happy birth team of midwives, traditional birth attendants and family.

Saturday March 7th Yanti the 17 year old patient has another seizure.  When conventional attempts to stop the convulsions were unsuccessful, we were able to stabilize the girl with acupuncture, thanks to hand phone contact with Dr. Bobbi in Bali, who guided us through the lifesaving procedure.  Dr. Eman is very excited to witness natural medicine work in an emergency.

In the late afternoon the eleven elder “Bidan Gampong”, village midwives, practicing in the area are gathered.  Some came by foot, others rode with family by motorbike, some we picked up in the Bumi Automobile.  Mimi, only days from her due date, has made them a noodle feast with vegetables from our garden, and the kitchen staff has made seaweed cakes.  The women are excited.  We open the meeting with prayers and gratitude.  Stories unfold of how afraid these women have been.  Some of them have been called too late, to find young mothers had died.  These midwives have not been to school, they have no paper degrees, what they have is a lifetime of service and experience, and knowledge passed down from generations of baby-catching grandmothers.  They are needed and trusted, honored in their communities for the spiritual authority to greet new life, they have the secret prayers. Typically the medical authorities disapprove of these traditional practitioners, and blame them when there is a birth tragedy. Until Bumi Sehat came to Samatiga, Aceh, they had no one to help them.  Typically a Bidan Gampong is called early in labor, she stays quietly, squatting on her little wooden bench, chewing betel nut, gently massaging the laboring woman.  When the baby comes she wipes the tiny face and helps the wee one to the breast.  She will stay three days with the family, to cook and wash the laundry by hand and clean and look after the new mother and baby.  If she does not stay, all the work may fall to the newly postpartum woman, this cannot be allowed.  For this she is paid the equivalent of $1.50 to $3.00.


The elder Traditional Birth Attendants standing proud with the Bumi Midwives

Two years ago a woman bled to death shortly after birthing her 4th baby.  Her husband had not called for help until it was too late.  The traditional midwife arrived quickly, and the mother had lost consciousness.  Having no phone she sent a neighbor boy on bicycle to Bumi Sehat to get help.

Our ambulance arrived within minutes, but, the mother had perished.  This death galvanized the Traditional Village Midwives to work closely with Bumi Sehat.

 Today, due to the generosity of our donors, we have 11 members of “Ikatan Bidan Gampong Bumi Sehat, Aceh, Indonesia”  (the Society of Bumi Sehat Village Midwives of Aceh, Indonesia).  Each one of them has a hand phone, provided by Bumi Sehat, and has been taught how to use it.  Monthly, Bumi Sehat provides their pulsa phone minutes, so they can always call for help.  We meet regularly for capacity building workshops in hemorrhage prevention and control, breastfeeding start-up, we share the art and science of midwifery together.  About half of the laboring women come with their chosen Bidan Gampong to the Bumi Clinic to birth.  The rest call us to assist in their births in the huts and houses.

Our Village Midwives have requested a few things from Bumi Sehat’s donors… They need reading glasses, flashlights, new stainless steel instruments and bowls and Newton scales to weigh the babies.  And, they want t-shirts with the Bumi Logo that say; “Ikatan Bidan Gampong Bumi Sehat, Aceh, Indonesia”. I assured them that our donors would be proud to help out.  As for me, I am in awe, this is perhaps our most astonishing program, to hold hands with these women is an honor.  To have their trust is revolutionary and lifesaving.

I have meet with midwifery students sponsored by Bumi donors, Yenni and Dahlia, in 1 ½ years they will be finished with their studies.  At that time they will join the Bumi Sehat midwifery team.  We are so proud of them and of our donors for making these miracles of education for Tsumani survivors possible.

Fauzan age 22 is from the devastated village of Kuala Bubon, he survived the Tsunami hanging on to the dream of becoming a school teacher.  His father has suffered a stroke and can no longer support Fauzan’s education.  Fauzan has been working as a raft fisherman while going to school.  He has only 1 ½ years left to get his teaching degree.  Hearing the story, our Leap Now volunteer, Max has decided, with his friends to sponsor Fauzan, so he will not drop out.

Bumi Sehat has been criticized for not having an “exit strategy” for the clinic in Aceh.  To be honest, if we exit here, the people of Aceh will not be able to find adequate funding to keep this quality of health care going.  Exiting would mean abandonment, the staff would disperse, as they would need to find paying work.  The medicines would run out and the buildings would fall to ruin.


Dr. Eman leads a meeting of Team Bumi Aceh

While meeting with our staff here in Aceh, they timidly asked if Bumi Sehat was planning to keep the clinic project alive, I told them, “Honestly, I don’t have an exit strategy.”  translator Mimi and Dr. Eman burst into tears of joy.  This team is amazing.  Each visit to the sight is a delight, as the vegetable gardens are bigger and better.  the fruit trees are growing, the buildings and vehicles are well maintained.  The patients fill out evaluation forms, praising the services here.

Chemene of Flow Fund purchased more fruit trees and plants for the clinic, as did Wil and I.  Nurse Liman spends his entire day off, working hard in the garden, with Adi planting and nurturing the flowers and trees.  Imagine how happy it feels to wake at dawn to find my midwives planting vegetables with the drivers and the gardening team, I jumped up to join them!  Each team member takes pride in every aspect of life here.  The vision and mission; to serve as a healing team, providing hygienic, professional, loving, effective medical services, protect safe motherhood and significantly contribute to infant survival, while setting an example of environmental consciousness, in a land so ravaged by grief, is held in the hearts of every Bumi Sehat team member.

 
Midwife Sumi & Ambulance Driver, Marlin with me, planting vegetables clinic solar power station on the right.

As I write this I must stop… to help a village midwife turn a breech baby.        Success, the mother was crying, as she had been told at the hospital that she must have a cesarean birth.  She left smiling, with Perfect Prenatal vitamins and a head-down baby – Allhumdulilah!

Mimi, our dear translator spent three days and nights in labor.  Another mom comes in and has her second baby very quickly. Her first had been born at Bumi Sehat in the early days following the Tsunami, when our clinic was but a shack.

Finally Mimi’s courage and determination pay off, she and Liman have a beautiful daughter born at Bumi Sehat.  They named her Talitha Nadif Halilah Wijaya.  I felt like my time in Aceh was complete… I had delivered the baby of my loyal staff, this baby is like a granddaughter to me.


Bumi staff nurse Liman proudly planting a mango tree along with his newborn daughter’s placenta.

Update… Bumi Sehat Bali.

The day and night of the Full Moon in March 2009 brought 8 new babies into the world at Bumi Sehat Bali!  We are busy indeed.

In early January two Bumi Sehat families who had lost children, just the previous year, due to birth defects, had perfectly healthy babies, born on the same day.  How they celebrated together with smiles and hugs!

I must tell you all the story of Ibu Yudi and Pak Mulyono, they married across religions, Christian and Muslim, so their families have rejected them.  We met them struggling with one child and pregnant with twins.

Each Christmas my husband Wil and I bring a carload of food to the slums in Sanur. This helps the Christians there, refugees from hard lives on other islands, have food to celebrate their own holiday.  This December, while delivering the food and gifts we saw Mulyono, looking very sad.  “How are the babies?”  I asked him. Why did we not see you at Bumi Sehat?”  He cried when he answered, “I have no motorbike, and no phone, the night Yudi went into labor I was too shy to wake the neighbors to ask to borrow their hand phone to get a ride to Bumi Sehat (it is quite far).  So we walked in labor, more than two kilometers to a midwife.  The babies were quickly born, two boys.”  I hugged him in congratulations.  “The story is not happy,” he continued, “The midwife charged us over rp. 7,000,000 (7 million rupiah about  $640. US. that is more than a year’s salary for Pak Mulyono.  Had they called Bumi Sehat we would have picked them up in the van, and the birth services would have been free.).  We had no money to pay, our church gave the midwife 2 ½ million rupiahs, but she said it was not enough (had they gone to an expensive hospital and had a cesarean birth, the price would have been less, this was extortion).  She kept one of our babies, until I can pay off the balance.” 

Wil and I immediately went with Pak Mulyono to the midwife’s practice.  We were told there that she had sold the baby to another island.  The nurse said, “You are poor and stupid, best we found a rich family to take that baby.  Your kind will just make more anyway.”  Pak Mulyono was in shock, “What can I do, go home and tell my wife I lost her baby, because I am poor?” he sobbed.

With the help of Raihan, an Acehnese friend who is familiar with human rights issues, we made contact with PBHI Legal Aid attorneys.  Meanwhile the midwife appeared at Yudi and Mulyono’s shack with a corrupt policeman, threatening them. It was a three week long battle, complete with newspaper coverage in two languages.  Two weeks after the New Year, the family was reunited with their baby.  Because the boys are identical twins, the midwife was not able to steal another baby (oh yes – this does happen) and replace the child who by now had been separated from his parents for three months.  This Baby, though thinner looks just like his twin brother.

This happy ending does not cancel the sad fact that all too often, families cannot take their babies home after birth, until they pay the bill in full.  This is one good reason to have a project like Bumi Sehat.  There are days and nights when it is just plain hard to do the work of Bumi Sehat; receiving the babies, helping the sick and injured, providing educations, navigating customs to bring in our vitamins, looking after recycling, education, and environmental projects, keeping a huge staff on two distant islands happy and well fed, and raising the funds to keep it all afloat... but this past Christmas Season, as we fought to reunite this family, it all came into focus for me.  We are providing services so needed and appreciated.  When I say “WE” I mean all of us, the midwives, nurses, doctors, housekeepers, cooks, gardeners, teachers, volunteers, administrators, drivers, and YES, donors.  We hold hands to make miracles in health, education and environmental protection happen, day by day.  If we make this world a little bit kinder, if we relieve just a wee bit of suffering, we have succeeded as a team.

I ask and I beg our donors & sponsors, you are our loving friends and family… to remain partners in this vision and mission.  Please, stay with Team Bumi Sehat, we need you desperately to keep this work going, both in Bali and in Aceh. 

In Gratitude…. Om Shanti, Allhumdulilah, Blessings…
Ibu Robin

This is the Baby Girl who was born in the Ambulance that the Rotary donated for Aceh!  The Rotary is currently raising funds for an ambulance for Bumi Sehat Bali. 

How to make a donation…
**Donations via Paypal...go to our website: www.BumiSehatBali.org
 
Send checks EARMARKED FOR BUMI SEHAT to
Sakthi Foundation
1507 Lone Oak Circle, Fairfield, Iowa 52556 USA

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


Bumi Sehat Field Report - 2008

Download 2008  Report Here


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
ACEH…
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.

Capacity Building Workshop with pregnant women, midwives and traditional birth attendants at Bumi Sehat Aceh

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.

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, 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
 
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 Births so far in 2008 222

    Jan: 34
    Feb: 67
    March:44
    April: 77 plus we have 2 more in labor and a few days to go in the month!
    
    Donations via Paypal... go to our website: www.BumiSehatBali.org

Bumi Sehat Bali and Aceh Health Projects Field Report 2006 - 2007
Prepared by Ibu Robin Lim

CONTACT DETAILS:(0361) 970 002 FAX (0361) 972 969

www.robinlimsupport.org

Robin Lim Support Organisation

2000 N.Court St #6D

Fairfield IOWA USA 52556

641-472-3880

As 2007 grew to a close, we at Bumi Sehat had much to be grateful for.  This year Yayasan (foundation) Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth) was chosen THE #1 not-for-profit organization in Bali, OUT of over 700. The selection process was rigorous and all aspects of our projects, from patient care, to computer courses for youth, to recycling were analyzed, our administration was checked and rechecked to see if our licenses are complete and current, our financial books were reviewed and we were found to be corruption free.  I must admit to being very, very proud of our staff both in Aceh and in Bali.  Also, I feel full of gratitude for the donors, who make every aspect of our work possible.

The close of the year was not without sadness: Christmas week we lost four babies in our Bali Safe Motherhood/Infant Survival practice.  Three of the four mothers had never attended prenatal care, for lack of transportation or just plain not knowing that Bumi Sehat existed, until the day they were in labor. Thus they did not have the benefit of our risk reduction model of care, and free prenatal vitamins.  One baby was premature; she survived only 24 hours.  Two other babies were born with health issues which made it necessary for them to go into hospital for neonatal care - they did not make it. Our last infant death of the year was a lovely anecephalic child.  We knew something was not right in the last weeks of Ketut's pregnancy, and accompanied the family to an ultrasound check with our back-up OBGYN.  The mother and father had accepted that their child had a profound birth defect, and would not survive long outside of the womb.  It was a beautiful and heart opening birth. Baby Kadek lived 4 days, she died in her parent's arms, feeling their love.  At her birth we sang the Gyatri mantra, at her death her family also sang this same healing song to the soul.  Anecephaly is a neural tube defect, most often caused by malnutrition. All our lost babies were casualties of poor prenatal diet, hunger, due to poverty.

In Aceh our maternal and child health staff faces the fact that so many of the expectant mothers suffer from high blood pressure, increasing the risk of pregnancy many fold.

An overview of patient statistics for Bumi Sehat 2006 and 2007 are as follows:

Aceh total patients seen;  21,523 this includes 978 emergencies or accidents requiring transport with our beautiful ambulance… thank you NYC Rotary for the emergency transport vehicle!

Our Bali health center saw 6,307 patients in 2006 and 8,350 patients in 2007.  Number of babies delivered at the Bumi Bali Birth Center jumped from 364 in 2006 to 521 in 2007.  Seems like yesterday 40 births in a month was busy, now we are receiving well over 60 babies per month. One rainy night we moved beds from our staff ashram to the office, to accommodate the birthing moms and babies.  Imagine our administration staff's delight when they arrived in the morning to find 11 mothers nursing their healthy newborn babies. We have only 7 beds at Bumi Bali, but we have not turned mothers away There is always 'room at the Bumi inn.'

The Bumi Youth Center in Bali instructed 120 young people in English language and computer skills in 2006. IN 2007, 193 students benefited from our free courses.

The South Asia and Ubud Rotary clubs have completed construction on the new Bumi Sehat clinic in Samatiga, Aceh, and donated it to us fully furnished in October.  Operating funds have been provided by Direct Relief International, BBC, Zimmerman Foundation, Body Shop, Alexander Langer Foundation, plus friends of Bumi Sehat all over the world, Paula B., Leon and family… special thanks.  The Sakthi Foundation has made it possible for us to have a 501C umbrella organization in the U.S., thanks to Pradheep, his family and to Bruce, aka "Bumi Angel."

Our wonderful breastfeeding book "ASI Esklusif Dong" was published, 10,000 copies PAID FOR by Direct Aid Programs of the Australian Consulate.  This book on in Bahasa Indonesia will save lives. Good going Liz for writing the grant application.

I cannot thank our volunteers from all over the world enough.  David and Asri of Ubud Rotary… heaven knows you worked so hard.  Melanie, back in England now is so missed. Frank, Irene, Nita, Eka, Sandi, Raka making up the financial team.  Liz and Jane, fundraising support, Katherine for asking New Chapter to give us Perfect Prenatal vitamins for all of our pregnant women… and so much more. The international midwives and doulas one and all, who have come to us with helping hands and open hearts, thank you.  Bless you Dr. Bobbi for running the Acupuncture program, Dr. Frank and your team for coming to Aceh and coming back to do service in Bali, Dr. Soma for anchoring the pediatric outreach. Endang, Nancy, Mimi, Ibu Gandri, for translation support, Ida for coordinating our volunteers. Dr. Wayan in Bali, and Dr. Eman in Aceh for keeping your hearts and minds open to Healing ways of medicine.  Special thanks to our brave midwifery and nursing team, Budi, Agung, Ketut, Kadek Dwi, Ayu, Mega, Feda and Christina, Leman, JoLinda, BangKit, holding hands with the traditional midwives, Ibu Bulan, Ibu Satria, and Mah Tih.  Media support came from Lakota, Zion, Gede Robi, and songs from Michael Franti, and Oppie Andaresta. Every minute of help and support, is a healing. Our aim is to relieve suffering. With the Babies, our prayer is that each soul trusting the Bumi Sehat midwives to receive them into the world, will arrive with an intact ability to love.  By preventing birth trauma, by loving and supporting the moms through a gentle and safer birth, in a land where hemorrhage after childbirth is one of the leading causes of death… we hope to keep the babies' hearts open and connected to their minds, resulting in optimum health.  We believe that gentle birth can heal the Mother Earth, one baby at a time.

The future… Bumi Sehat Aceh has the infrastructure it needs to give excellent medical relief to the Tsunami survivors. Bumi Sehat Bali, our home office, is busier than ever, but does not have a permanent facility.  In approximately five years, the lease on the land the clinic sits upon is finished.  At this time the clinic is just too small to accommodate the numbers of patients, yet our policy is to turn no one away. So, clearly it is time to move and create a true home for Bumi Sehat Bali.  Friends of Bumi have already donated money towards our security, yet we must raise a significant amount to buy the land needed and build the new clinic, staff housing, handicapped children's and youth centers, vegetable gardens, plus parking. In March, friends of Bumi have a fantastic musical fundraiser planned… we will keep you updated on that. Meanwhile, the need for an ambulance is clear.  Currently, we use our one and only clinic vehicle for emergency transport, plus to run day-to-day errands. There is no other emergency transport available for the poor in the Ubud area.  We are happy to be providing this service, honestly we sometimes borrow cars from friends to keep it going.  We need a motorbike for running nearby errands.  Currently we have driven one of our most loyal staff members, Sandi's, bike into the ground.  Month-to-month operational expenses in Bali are provided by your generous donations from afar and also by walk-in friends from all over the planet. But there is always the worry that we won't make our bill payments.  Faith and grace carry us along with your help.

The on-going donations of vitamins, baby blankets, hats and clothing are just amazing… thank you. Those of you who have met us at the Bali clinic, walked in and seen us at work, have been so generous, we are humbled.  John Fawcette Foundation helps with medical supplies, which we just could not survive without.  It is truly a Global Community effort here.  I find myself in tears as I write this, tears of gratitude.

There is much talk of Global warming, and indeed, it is of great concern.  In these times on Earth it is easy to be pessimistic about the future…. Our first Bumi Baby of the New Year 2008 came into the world breech, which leads us to believe; "Things are turning around."  May it be so.  Thank you for forging a partnership in this peace we so wish to create.

Om Shanti, Assalamualaikum, Om Shanti, Blessings of Peace, Happy New Year…

And Love, always Love, Ibu Robin Lim      

A letter from Ibu Robin to Kate following her visit to Bumi Sehat January 2008

Dear dear Kate...
ibu Robin Here... Just to let you know that we had a baby girl, shoulder dystocia, serious. Chanti and Ibu Ketut called me, I was asleep at home, about 3:30 am, I ran in my pajamas to the clinic.  We got this baby girl out... 9 minutes she was stuck between worlds.  She was dead.  
    I did CPR, Chanti called for homeopathy, a friend who is a Naturalpathic physician was there at the time.  I asked for Bryonia or Brayta... Can't remember what I said... Because as she, our dear Mother Mary takes over in these times between the star gate of life and death... And the remedy was given and the baby jumped into her body.. She took a while... But within two hours she was well on the breast, and just like any other baby... As if no trauma had occurred... She is home now and perfectly happy and healthy... No damage to her at all.  
    Kate – I share this with you because we felt your presence was with us too... That Mother Mary sent you to us so we would be confident in her remedies.
Thank you... Love, Peace., Ibu robin and Baby Koming too.

I was thrilled to receive this email as the remedy they actually used was BRYONIA -the remedy that saved my son's life at 15 months of age when he had a respiratory and cardiac arrest in the bath one evening.His twin, sister older sister by 2 years, and his Dad were present.I had tried to resuscitate him unsuccessfuly for some time and in the end got down on my knees with my child and prayed to God to save him.The message arrived in my head instantaneously "Give him Bryonia"

I ran down 3 flights of stairs to the kitchen ,put my hand in a big box full of medical stuff-medicines both orthodox and homeopathic, and out came a bottle of Bryonia which I immediately gave Tom,in between his teeth and his lower lip.He came round immediately to my complete amazement.The next (unwelcome) message came into my head.

"You are going to have to study this and then teach everyone else,and about time you went back to church"As a very busy mum with 3 toddlers under 4-( Tom is twin to Rosie and Helen 2 years older)working in the UK as a part time Health Visitor,teaching the children Suzuki violin, and a large house to run-dog and cat!-cooking and baking everything myself as the children were severely allergic to so many things ,I decided to ignore that instruction.But life kept directing me to do what I was told, and when the twins were 3+ I started training to be a Homeopath at the College of Homeopathy London UK in 1984.I studied for 4 years and was immediately asked to teach and it went on from there............................To have all this vindicated 23 years later by the same remedy saving baby Koming when all seemed lost is a great honour,and I am so glad I did go back to my Catholic roots, was able to be humble enough to be directed, and am still teaching people but nowadays in the Southern hemisphere in Australasia. It is a great privilege.

 

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