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Emily Robertson was born and raised in Southeast Louisiana and has been involved with non-profit organizations and community outreach programs from a young age. Her work with Amnesty International and The National Organization for Women earned her a leadership scholarship from Louisiana State University. There she continued her efforts in a leadership role training and recruiting members and running a local chapter of both organizations. This year she will be with LearnToLive on the ground in Indonesia for the first clinic to help facilitate the program and make it the best it can be. She enthusiastically looks forward to helping LTL bring healthcare to those in Indonesia and beyond.

“When I met Yanti Turang in 2011¬†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.”