The mission of LearnToLive:Indo is to provide primary health care and early interventions to the people of North Sulawesi who are unable to travel or to pay for healthcare. A secondary goal is to inspire and create a learning environment for international healthcare workers so they may bring their experiences of Indonesia back to their country of origin and be better healthcare workers.
LearnToLive:Indo will be based out of Manado in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Manado is the main city in the region with a population of 450,000. We will have clinics set up in four different locations within the region. The four clinics will be located in Beringin, Sapa, Bunaken and Likupang. Each clinic will be open for five days, and then allow two days travel and set up time for the next location.
Led by Yanti Turang, RN, LearnToLive:Indo will include medical professionals from the US and Australia. We will seek out students from universities in the United States and Australia, with which we have existing relationships. The medical team will also include four other healthcare professionals from Australia / USA and Indonesia. Once the team has been established it will be the people of North Sulawesi that will be our major participants. We hope to learn from their existing practices as well as provide support to those who cannot get the initial care they need.
Meet the 2012 INDO Team:
Yanti Turang Founder, RN, Executive Director
The concept for LearnToLive was born on a film-set in Southeastern Louisiana. I was surrounded by a mixed crowd of Hollywood types and found myself overwhelmed by their cynical attitudes and wasteful lifestyle. I could no longer reconcile a life working simply for a paycheck; I knew there was more to life. I recognized the need for a change in my career and my lifestyle. This is when I began to think about how I could use my skills as a registered nurse to not only help people but also inspire them to be better.To further solidify my own aspirations, I looked to my family. My father and his family are from North Sulawesi, Indonesia. I often visited this region during my childhood and recognized from an early age the stark difference between their living conditions and the ones I had growing up in Australia. This area is characterized by rampant poverty, limited healthcare and virtually no form of sustainable clean water or sanitation. I’ve seen young men and women die from easily preventable or treatable conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stomach ulcers. Moreover, I’ve seen others live their lives with untreated conditions without knowledge of small behavior changes that could help sustain a healthy lifestyle. My childhood trips to North Sulawesi along with my desire for a more fulfilling career lead me to my calling. With the help of a friend and colleague, Jordan Kaban, I envisioned the idea for LearnToLive. After many brainstorming sessions and several trips to North Sulawesi, my dream began to develop. Over the course of two years, LearnToLive acquired a board of trustees, appointed a dedicated group of seven core members, secured funding, applied for non-profit status and took its inaugural trip to Indonesia. What once began as an idea began suddenly transformed into an organization with like-minded yet diverse individuals all with the desire to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in North Sulawesi and soon the world.I will never ever forget how I felt the morning of our first day in Sapa. To watch a group of people who had travelled so far to develop and bring to life my idea is probably the most rewarding amazing feeling I have ever felt. The first patient sat down with one of LTL's clinicians and so began what once was an idea on a film set and was now to be a way of life. The people who made LTL Indo 2012 were the foundations and walls of this program. I am so thankful to have them standing next to me. I know we are all going to change the world and it feels really good.
Karel Turang Translator, Team WaWa, Dad
A Letter from Karel to the 2012 INDO team:"Having worked with young people for the majority of my working life I did not have the slightest doubt that the LTL venture in North Sulawesi would achieve the goals it set out to attain.I worked only as a support team member during the three weeks of our stay but I had time to observe the work of the main team. What I witnessed was the most uplifting and gratifying experience of my life, one that I will always treasure. The team shared, gave life and hope to people who otherwise would struggle to care for themselves.As one wise man said to me once, “Do not give me 10,000 people or 1,000 or 100 but 10 people who are committed to a cause and have an unceasing belief in themselves and I will move a mountain”. You, the team realised that wisdom.If ever anyone, maybe your children or grandchildren, asks you in the future what you did when you were young tell them you were a child of the universe because you worked for humanity."
Emily Robertson Administration & Development Director
"When I met Yanti Turang over a year ago through an old highschool friend, I had no idea that she would put together the most fascinating and fulfilling experience I had since been a part of. I overheard her at lunch talking about travelling to Asia, and interrupted to have her tell me what she knew about the area. I had been wanting to travel, and and LearnToLive gave me the perfect excuse, albeit with a more altruistic motive. After many months of working with the core team in New Orleans towards LearnToLive's first health initiative in Indonesia, I was finally meeting up with Yanti and the team in North Sulawesi. When I met Yanti for our flight to Manado, I had no idea what to expect. I had been travelling in Indonesia when we met up, and with a few weeks of experience in the country I felt like I had a vague grasp of the culture, but I understood that we would basically be in an unpredictable situation, and have to be extremely adaptable to make our clinics successful. Yanti had hand picked an unbelievable team of volunteers with hearts of gold and the ability to roll with the punches. Before I knew it, things started falling into place, all in good time, just like Yanti assured me they would. The ability to just let things happen and have faith that they will come together in their own way, on their own terms, along with the belief that we can do great things while having very little to work with, is a perspective I needed to learn and I am thankful Indonesia showed it to me. So, there I was, in a tiny mountain village called Beringin, at the end of an impossibly rocky uphill road that is more like a river bed, where our team of doctors, nurses, pharmacy staff, public health personnel, and interpreters have set up a makeshift clinic on the dirt ground under tarps in front of the village midwife's house with only a few days' notice. The people got word we would be there and have all come to sit patiently on benches and await their assessment. People have waited hours for the only medical care they have received in years. Our healthcare staff are perched on plastic chairs, translators by their side, wrapping wounds, educating patients about their medical conditions and providing attention that was desperately needed. They insisted on serving us a huge spread of local food and were extremely grateful that we were there. We were taken care of by the people, as we had taken care of them. The graciousness and gratitude we experienced is something that I will reflect upon for a long time. I'm thankful that I travelled to the other side of the world with LearnToLive and could contribute to a beautiful vision being realized with the most amazing crew on earth. We did it!"
Leigh Hill RN
Being friends with the founder of Learn to Live for around 5 years across the Pacific, I had no doubt the trip to Indonesia would be a life changing experience. This turned out to be fact much more than hyperbole. I changed my career 6 years ago to become a nurse and make a positive difference in people's lives - never have I felt that dream achieved so strongly as I did on this trip. I have consistently felt isolated, unsupported and embittered by colleagues and the healthcare system I work within in my drive to improve the health of my patients and provide them with basic comfort, support and autonomy. After years of work, my fundamental life goals were finally realised on the LTL Indonesia 2012 trip. There are no words to describe the feeling when you realise this is your reason for being - to just give, and give in a team of like-minded individuals doing something good. I will forever be grateful for that feeling - one that has again inspired a change in my life trajectory to do more work like this in the ignored remote areas of my own country that are in need of basic healthcare. Thank you Yanti, and everyone in LTL - what a gift it is to replace frustration and bitterness with positivity, satisfaction and hope.
Abigail Feildman Team WaWa
"Life in Sapa seems much happier even though they face the most unbelievable living conditions. What they do have they keep neat, although a pile of trash can usually be found nearby that they burn, plastic and all. The little village is on the coast and is only 5 years old. The sand is black from the ignatious volcanic rock. I was not prepared for the outpouring of attention we would get, especially from the kids. They are delightful, bright eyed and mostly shoeless. My favorite was a little bugger named Tito, a Tasmanian devil of a child who ran around hyped up on coconut juice and sugar. Watching the healthcare team at work was awesome. I think they saw about 300 people over the three days. I learned how to take blood pressure and help run the pharmacy. Our broken Indonesian is slowly amounting to some communication. The kids loved it when walking around I would say with determination, "let's go!" They repeat anything you say. Mara and I made great progress on day two with the water project. We can't solve their big issues, but have lined up a project to build a rain collection system at the junior high next year. A baby was born that Mara and Yanti were in the hut to assist. They named her Yanti! And a new road was built in part of the village for our arrival. They named the stretch along the beach Jalla Learntolive. That means LearnToLive Street. Leaving them was absolute chaos...kids running beside the cars trying to touch our hands one last time. Woa...it has been amazing so far!"
Levi Goliath MD
"LearnToLive's program in North Sulawesi has not only helped so many of my people but it has helped highlight the need of healthcare services in this area. It has been a wonderful experience working with everyone from all over the world. Together we have helped so many people and I look forward to everybody coming back again soon."
Chris O’ Higgins RN
"I remember the day Yanti came into the clinic and told me her LTL dream and invited me to be part of the team. Some months later I received the emails with the organization of the trip and I was blown away by the meticulous attention to all aspects of this trip that she was now preparing.I had travelled a lot in my life and I had always prepared my own journeys and as I was getting older I was always ensuring that all my creature comforts were available to me on my travels. And when I began thinking that I would not have this control I began to get a few butterflies about the trip. Thank God my adult children set me straight, they encouraged me to go and it was a great experience in my life. I spent 3 weeks in Asia and never had a moment of illness, that has to be great organization. I worked and travelled with the most exciting and skilled young people, our teamwork and camaraderie was exceptional, every day of the 3 weeks was enjoyable and I am looking forward to the journey next year ,no fear and trepidation this time.I had never worked in remote areas of the world and was seeking some guidance from a work colleague who had worked with Aboriginal communities in central Australia, her advice to me was to relax and enjoy the experience as I would gain more from working with these communities than they would gain from me and very regularly in the 3 weeks I would think how true this was, this was a very special experience for me."
Amanda Clifford Photographer - A.I.R, The Movies, & Media Director
"When I first talked to Yanti, a woman I'd never met, she asked me over the phone if I wanted to go with her to a place I'd never even seen on a map, to film an organization I'd never heard of. The unrelenting enthusiasm in her voice caused me to say yes before I even knew what I was agreeing to. I was as excited as she was from that phone call to when I actually met her in person for the first time on the ground in Sapa, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Working with Learn to Live is a human experience I hope to share with you through the footage that we captured in the remote village clinics. I was inspired daily by this crew of medical professionals doing everything they could to improve the health and well being of each patient they saw, taking time not only to bandage their wounds, but to ask about their living conditions, their families, their lives. To say that my time with Learn to Live was an amazing experience would be putting it lightly. In my pre-LTL life, never had I been witness to such waves of compassion, been so moved while filming, or found myself in the midst of so many dedicated individuals. As a documentary film maker, it is my job to follow my subjects and find the story. I came back with so much more. A renewed sense of optimism for the human condition and the knowledge that goals of this nature are achievable being just a few of the things I gained from the trip. I can say with the utmost confidence that Learn to Live has made a real change in peoples' lives, not only in the patients' lives, but the volunteers and mine as well."
Jason Garcia Translator, Illusionist, Man of Mystery
What can we say? Jason is our own personal mysterious "man in black". He's a bit like Johnny Cash meets David Copperfield, if they spoke Indonesian and did card tricks.
Heath McIvor Administration & Volunteer
"I was in North Sulawesi as a Learn to Live team member for a total of five days. That doesn’t seem like a very long time when you look at it on paper. In fact, I can quite happily watch five days slip by at home, leapfrogging from week to week without really bothering to take stock of each day’s lessons and achievements. Not surprising when you consider that humbling realisations, attitude-changing experiences and startlingly beautiful moments are relatively few and far between when you spend most of your energy pretending to be busy. In five days in North Sulawesi I learned more about myself and about the infinite possibilities that are opened up when compassion is put before complacency than I have in the last 30 years. I was able to witness firsthand just how much a small team of talented, dedicated and passionate individuals can achieve in such a short amount of time. In just three days in Sapa we assessed and treated almost 300 hundred families, we were able to empower local translators, guides and villagers by inviting them to take ownership of the project in their own right, we created a model for a sustainable water curriculum at the local school and collaborated closely with the chief and his family to ensure the long term sustainability of the project. We gained the support of the Red Cross and solidified our relationship with the Indonesian Government, had a road in the village named after the project and a baby named after it’s founder. A baby that was delivered in a tiny house in a remote village, entirely unaware that the groundwork for self-sustaining and reliable healthcare and education was literally being laid around her as she took her first breath.It is a rare gift in the modern world to have the opportunity to be entirely immersed in an undertaking that is solely for the benefit of those less fortunate than yourself. It makes you realise with humbling clarity that it’s actually possible to change the world in a day, and every day counts."
Keren Tesalonika Pelealu Translator
Keren is a student at Manado State University.
Rachel Witwer Public Health, Program Director
"There were countless wonderful aspects to working in North Sulawesi as a part of the 2012 LTL initiative, but the best part for me – the thing that really made my heart go pitter-patter – was the challenge to be meaningful. This world is littered with good intentions and insufficient deeds. This is because to be meaningful, to have actual value and significance, is harder than it sounds. On an organizational level, our challenge was for Learn to Live to be meaningful to the communities in which we worked. On a personal level, my challenge was to be a meaningful member of the LTL team. There is nothing more exhilarating, fulfilling and inspiring than meeting a challenge head-on. In three short weeks, we as Learn to Live worked to lay the foundation for solid and sustainable programming that truthfully addresses the needs of the Sapa, Beringin, Likupang and Bunaken communities. Individually, I determined my niche amongst a group of remarkable people and contributed to the overall process with the doggedness and veracity of the best of them.The challenge to be meaningful is dynamic and perpetual, as well as necessary, and I thank my LTL experience for reminding me of that. Learn to Live 2013, bring it."
Christian Evans Rau Translator
Christian is a student at Manado State University."Nothing actually really changed until I met this group of wonderful people. I marked the remarkable experience I got to spent with you all this year as one of the best experiences in my life. Learn To Live!"
Melissa Ferniz RN
"Being a part of this group has been an amazing privilege and a very eye opening experience. I have always hoped to be a part of something bigger than myself and LTL gave me this opportunity. I am very honored and humbled. One of the most important things I learned on this trip that it is hard for someone to focus on their own health when they are worrying about where their next meal is coming from. What I have taken for granted - my health and the ability to obtain healthcare - it is a privilege to to many others around the world. By setting up these clinics, we were able to give to so many something that thought was out of their reach - simple medical advice and a chance to talk to someone about their health. Though a visit with a patient may have only taken five minutes and I know many were able to leave with a sense of relief and comfort. Emerson said “to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded”. If this is true, LTL has been a tremendous success. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this from the early planning stages when this was one amazing woman’s dream to the people who came to our clinics and waited hours to see a practitioner for this was truly a life changing journey."
Alex Willson The Movies, Documentary Filmmaker - A.I.R.
"In my life I've traveled all over the world, and I have worked with and shot for several different humanitarian organizations. My experience with Learn to Live was one of the best events I've come across in all my travels. Yanti and her crew were quite simply the purest and most noble group of people that I have ever worked around. It’s rare in this world to come across true altruism, but working with Learn To Live was one of the only examples of that I've ever seen. Altruism aside, the work that they are doing is not just helping the communities in the short term, but is laying the groundwork to enact real sustainable change in those people’s lives. Of all the things I've done in my life, making films for Learn To Live is one of the things I’m most proud of."
Casey Miller Nutritionist
"Putting my experience with Learn to Live in to words is impossible – mere words cannot begin to do it justice, so I will quote Greg Anderson, “when we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.”The three weeks we spent in North Sulawesi have been the best three weeks of my life up to this point. Never had I felt more alive, more fulfilled and more in my place than I did when I was working in Indonesia. I had also never been part of such an amazing team of hard working individuals who were all united for the same cause. Through trusting in each other’s abilities and hard work, we were able to achieve what seemed impossible, proving to me that all things, no matter how difficult they may seem, are possible. I am no longer intimidated to dream big since I have now seen that great dreams can come true, as long as we have the persistence to follow them.Thank you to everyone who made this dream a reality – you know who you are, and I love you all!"
Jordan Lejeune MD
Jordan joined us from his pediatric residency at Children's Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mara LePere Schloop Team WaWa
"Traveling with Learn to Live provided a life experience beyond my wildest imagination. Besides the indulgent satisfaction of being able to apply our individual skill sets towards a humanitarian cause- we were also able to see one of the most beautiful regions of the world, help an amazing woman and her father achieve a multi-generational life-long goal, and spend time amongst a group full of creative, humble, hilarious and competent individuals. The value of the program falls not only in the services it provides to those in need, but also in its ability to empower the volunteers to be able to share skills and ideas in an environment thirsty for problem solving."
Steph Gibson RN
The opportunity to work with Learn To Live in North Sulawesi was extraordinary on so manylevels, and I feel very fortunate to have had this experience. It has been great to be partof an initiative that has resulted in realistic and positive outcomes for the communitiesthat we visited, and to know that this will be ongoing and sustainable. We were able todeliver very much needed primary healthcare to the the villages that we visited, and thehospitality, generosity and kindness of the people in each location was incredibly humbling.The different issues and problems we encountered in the villages provided lots ofopportunities for learning, and it's been invaluable to work with such skilled,knowledgeable and inspiring individuals. It has given me deeper insight into the complexhealth system, and issues that the people of North Sulawesi face, which has motivated me tolearn more. To be able to help in some small way is just the start of something bigger andongoing, and being part of the LTL team has been truly inspiring.
Angel Sisilia Shinta Turang Translator
Angel is a student at Manado State University. At the clinics she was usually found translating for Chris at what we liked to call The Baby Station. As the clinics progressed Angel got into the habit of taking diligent notes in the most impeccably legible handwriting for Chris and her efforts were much appreciated. We can't wait to see Angel again this year!
Join Us! There's room for more!
Keep an eye out for Volunteer Opportunities on the site. We'll be posting who we need to help us out at clinics in the coming weeks! If you are a medical professional and want to give back to these communities in need, contact us via the email icon. And keep in touch! Follow us on FaceBook & Twitter!
You can follow the LTL team as they travel throughout North Sulawesi on our blog
2012 – Team WaWa
In July of 2012 team WaWa traveled to Indonesia with the INDO Clinic Team to better understand the challenges that rural populations face on a daily basis, especially in relation to what is most fundamental, water! Karel Turang, an educator, Abigail Feldman, a landscape architect, and Mara LePere-Schloop, an architect, comprised, Team WaWa. There were a number of issues they discovered as they explored how the infrastructure works and what the water quality and accessibility issues are in North Sulawesi. Their research was conducted through interviews and guided tours with the chiefs, villagers and other local NGO personnel. Each of the four villages we visited including Sapa, Beringin, Likupang and Bunaken, presented very different environmental conditions, constraints and opportunities. Next year they will return to build rain water collection systems at the junior high schools and offer the teachers supporting curriculum to use in the classroom.
On the Ground in North Sulawesi – 2012
Every community they spoke to identified access to clean water as their most challenging problem. North Sulawesi is a tropical environment with long seasons brimming with rain, and yet it is a sadly underutilized resource. An awareness of collecting rain water is not currently part of their culture. It is Team WaWa’s mission to encourage the communities to start thinking about rain water differently and begin to see it as a precious resource, which can be collected, purified and used for all kinds of purposes.
After spending time in the villages, we noticed that some of the largest buildings with the biggest roofs are the schools. They are the perfect sites for collecting rain water and allowing the community to interface with this technology. They are excited to work with younger age groups at the junior highs who will be empowered with this knowledge to help their own families and think strategically about the future development of their town. The team does not just want to build the system, but rather teach them how and introduce a curriculum that uses the rain water to educate the kids about larger environmental issues year round. After speaking with a number of school administrators and teachers, they are very excited about integrating this curriculum into their classrooms.
Our Goals in 2013
BUILD RAIN-WATER COLLECTION SYSTEMS & INTRODUCE ENVIRONMENTAL CURRICULUM INTO THE SCHOOLS
REDUCE PLASTIC RUBBISH
OFFER LEADERS IN THE COMMUNITY ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO RAISE MONEY
DIVERSIFY TEAM WAWA
Traveling is inspiring not only to make you think and reflect on yourself but also to be creative. For many years Yanti Turang, our founder, was a musician in Australia and the USA and music for her is such an important part of her everyday existence. “My music was often inspired by places I visited, the people I met and how they all made me feel.”
LTL Artist-in-Residence is about this feeling and inspiration. Primarily LTL will be providing healthcare but why not provide an experience for an artist so they can write about it, photograph it, be inspired by it. Each year we plan to take an artist of a different medium to provide them with an experience and document it using their medium. If you are interested in applying to be a LTL Artist-in-Residence please email us!
2012 Artist-in-Residence : Amanda Clifford & Alex Willson
As a cinematographer, I’ve work a wide range of shoots. I’ve been on everything from high end Nat Geo slow motion bug shoots to zero budget dystopian future short films that had me sitting out in the rain for days with no pay. (Hey, at least on that one they didn’t announce that today is the day we release LIVE BEES in the studio!) I had been struggling to find meaning in the commercial and narrative filmmaking worlds for some time when I came upon the wonderful medium of documentary. I felt at last I would be able to use my skills for a good cause, and not just to line some producer’s wallet.
LearnToLive contacted me though Alex Willson, Yanti and I, without ever having met, shared this common friend. I was given the opportunity not only to create art in a beautiful part of the world, I would be tasked with sharing a series of stories with the world about the impact this organization is having on the people it’s serving.
Working with Learn to Live is a human experience I hope to share with you through the footage that we captured in the remote village clinics. I was inspired daily by this crew of medical professionals doing everything they could to improve the health and well being of each patient they saw, taking time not only to bandage their wounds, but to ask about their living conditions, their families, their lives.
To say that my time with Learn to Live was an amazing experience would be putting it lightly. In my pre-LTL life, never had I been witness to such waves of compassion, been so moved while filming, or found myself in the midst of so many dedicated individuals. As a documentary film maker, it is my job to follow my subjects and find the story. I came back with so much more. A renewed sense of optimism for the human condition and the knowledge that goals of this nature are achievable being just a few of the things I gained from the trip.
I hope you enjoy the films in the Video Section, the photos from Indonesia & Laos, and if you have a minute, subscribe to the LearnToLive YouTube Channel. Please share the videos with your friends, neighbors, coworkers, sparring partners, baking buddies, running team, and yoga cohorts.
I’ve spent my whole life travelling the world looking for inspiration and trying to find the best and the worst that the human experience has to offer. Altruism is, in my opinion, the rarest of things to come across in this world. But it’s also the most important trait we have as a species. The ability to empathize with each other, and want to help even those we don’t know, is the only thing that’s allowed us to move past our primal nature and build an equitable society worth living in.
I was working with Yanti on a film project a couple years ago when she first told me about her idea for Learn to Live, shortly before I was leaving to film a documentary in India. I remember being impressed with how audaciously ambitious it was, but wondering if it would actually happen. Through her hard work and perseverance, we were on the ground in Indonesia making a difference within two years of that conversation. I was lucky enough to have my old and dear friend Amanda Clifford, who also happens to be one of the most talented documentary shooters I’ve ever known, agree to saddle up with me for an adventure once again, and the rest is history.
Interviewing a man about his life, a man who you know will likely die soon, is a remarkable experience. Engel Mamese’s life story was beautiful in it’s own simplicity. His story is the story of millions of people that share this world with us, that we will never hear about. He was born and grew up in a small mountain village, he married his wife while they were very young, they raised crops in Beringin, and had children together.
A few died, and the rest lived. His children grew up, they raised their own crops and children, and Engel grew old with his wife in the small wooden shack that they called home. He was a leader in his community, an elder, one who the young children could learn from. Then he got sick. And there was nowhere for him to go. And there was no one to give him answers. He tried to cure himself with what medicines he could get at the local pharmacy, but all it did was discolor his skin, and give him rashes. He was in pain, but had nothing he could do about it. He made it to the hospital one time, but they did not help him. It was too expensive for him to take a motorcycle all the way there again. When the doctors and nurses of Learn to Live diagnosed him, and told him that he had late stage cancer, and that he was dying, the gratitude that I saw him express was strangely stronger than almost any other I saw on the trip. Having an answer so that he could make his final arrangements was the greatest gift that they could give him. Of all the good that I watched and documented Learn To Live do on their last trip to Indonesia, Engel’s is a story that will always stick with me.
Working with Learn to Live was one of the first experiences in my life where I saw true altruism combined with a pragmatic sense of building something sustainable that could continually pay dividends to an underserved community in need of a hand up. I think the work that Learn to Live is doing can have a real lasting impact for the people of North Sulawesi, and with the right funding, their model of working with local people to make a sustainable impact on the community will be expandable to other countries around the world. Shooting documentaries for LearnToLive is one of the experiences in my life that I am the most proud of. I hope that the work Amanda and I have done for them will help them continue and expand their mission across the globe.
Visit Our Past Artists-In-Residence : Jason Prowell : 2011