|Merry Christmas everybody! From Jimmy, Hotlin & Jacky|
Despite what I've thought in the past, Christmas really is about gifts. Beginning with a little baby in a manger, given to bring peace and demonstrate love, the core of the holiday is about making even the simplest of gestures to share goodwill with others. In Sukadana and now as we travel through Indonesia, it is obvious that people here have it figured out.
I began thinking about this spirit of giving in a conversation with Kinari, ASRI's founder and director. Her vision and determination to build this amazing organization all stems from the gesture of using her gifts to bring health to people and the forests of Borneo. Her gifts are fine, indeed. The top graduate of her class at Yale's medical school and a survivor of one of the most challenging and best residency programs in the country, she could have picked any specialty, picked a salary, and practiced anywhere. Instead, she gave, and continues to give, her self in this incredible service.
|Christmas in Pontianak's Mega-mall. Jacquelyn & Etty|
Sometimes gifts are wrapped, and come in humongous packages. We received one of these types of gifts two days ago, wrapped in a huge aluminum cylinder that arrived in Jakarta from Sydney and New Zealand before that. Ashley Saunders and Tom Dickinson, on their delayed honeymoon, came to spend the holiday and explore Indonesia with us. We've been friends since Sewanee and have lived closely in Chapel Hill over the past 10 years, sharing great times on Franklin Street and in the swamps and mountains of North Carolina. It's an incredible gift for these two to come and, in a way, reconnect us with the wonderful life and friends we have back home. It's also a wonderful gift to share stories face to face with them, to recount our adventures, and to create some new ones.
|Lunch on Christmas Eve with a couple of cool cats.|
|No chestnuts, no open fire, but warm and cozy all the same.|