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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 had me to saying yes before I even knew what I was agreeing to. I was as excited as she was from that first phone call to when I actually met her in person for the first time on the ground in Sapa, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. I had just flown 30 hours to arrive 2 hours after she had just helped deliver a baby.

Working with Learn to Live is a human experience I hope to share with you through the film, photography, and stories that we captured in the remote village clinics. On the first trip, 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 LearnToLive 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.

Since that first trip I have grown from Artist in Residence to Creative Director, returned to university for a second degree – this time in nursing, and also met my fiance on the 2013 Indonesian Health Initiative.