Bumi Sehat: The real reason I will move to Bali

The most wonderful, meaningful and heartfelt thing I do in Bali is volunteering at Bumi Sehat, a natural childbirth and community healthcare center located in Nyuh Kuning Village in the southern part of Ubud, where I do Reiki on newborn babies, their mothers, and members of the community who come to Bumi Sehat for emergency and general healthcare services. I first learned about Bumi Sehat because I am a huge fan of Michael Franti’s and he puts on an annual New Year’s Eve concert in Ubud and donates all the money he takes in to Bumi Sehat and one other non-profit organization.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I have wanted to be a grandmother for a long time and in my personal life it has not happened. But I have created a miracle in my life called Bumi Sehat and every week I become a new grandmother, “Neenee (my phonetic spelling of an Indonesian word meaning grandma) Lakshmi.” My heart overflows with love for every newborn baby I hold and for their parents who readily express their gratitude that Neenee Lakshmi is giving Reiki to their babies.

Some babies I give Reiki to are 2 hours old, some are 4 hours old, some are 8 hours old. The babies are absolutely beautiful. I have attached some photos of me with the babies and/or their parents. In one photo the umbilical cord is still attached to the baby, and the placenta is in a bowl covered with frangipani flowers. In another photo the mother has not yet given birth to the placenta. At Bumi Sehat the baby stays attached to the placenta for three or more hours, so that the baby continues feeding as she did in her mama’s belly. After she is outside her mother’s body, the baby moves from the placenta to her mother’s breast for feeding. It is such a beautiful and nurturing practice. The placenta is very honored at Bumi Sehat and after the umbilical cord is cut, the parents of the new baby take the placenta home and perform a ceremony, blessing the placenta and burying it in their yard.

I have been blessed to witness two babies being born at Bumi Sehat, an experience I’ve never had before. The first birth I watched blew me away. I could not believe what a beautiful, peaceful experience it was. The husband was sitting on the bed behind his wife, massaging her back, whispering words of support to her as she pushed her baby from the warmth and comfort of her body into the loving hands of her midwife. During the last several minutes of the birthing process, the people in the room chant the Gayatri Mantra, a beautiful Hindu chant. What a peaceful and loving environment is created for this new little soul that is entering into our world. In addition to the attending midwife, there were two birthing assistants (doulas) who assisted the mother with the birth, gently massaging and stretching the vaginal opening to facilitate the baby’s birth. I gently wept as I watched the birth, I was so moved and honored, so grateful to the parents for welcoming me to be a part of the magic and mystery of the beginning of their baby’s life. It was an experience that has had a very deep and profound effect on me.

There was not one peep out of the mother during her labor and birth of her baby. I could not believe it. What a contradiction to the screaming and yelling that often happens at Western births. The mother was so beautiful and between pushes, she smiled and patiently waited for the next contraction. What an incredible environment for a baby’s birth. The magic of gentle births of Bumi Sehat!

Many babies born in traditional hospitals in Indonesia do not live very long. But the most incredible statistic for Bumi Sehat is that an average of 50 babies are born there every month … and they have never lost a mother or baby. This is because the mothers come for prenatal care at Bumi Sehat and learn about good nutrition for themselves and their babies.

Yayasan Bumi Sehat was founded in 1995 by Robin Lim  (she is in a photo with me, next to the Bumi Sehat plaque), a beautiful, compassionate, selfless woman whose life is dedicated to providing prenatal nutrition for pregnant women and “gentle births for a peaceful future.” These prenatal and birth services are provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of donors to Bumi Sehat.

Robin Lim’s commitment is to provide health care to members of the community on a donation basis. If a patient cannot pay, they are still served by Bumi Sehat. Among the services provided, many by persons like myself who volunteer at Bumi Sehat, are natural pediatric care, high blood pressure group therapy, acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal therapy, homeopathy, chiropractic, cranial sacral and Reiki treatments, and emergency wound care. Emergency transportation to larger medical centers is provided by Bumi Sehat’s ambulance, which was donated by a civic organization in Ubud.

Bumi Sehat also has a clinic on the Indonesian island of Aceh, which was established following the tsunami in 2004. This clinic provides many of the same services as provided at the clinic in Ubud. These services are provided free of charge on an ongoing basis.

Bumi Sehat was also an early responder to the horrendous earthquakes in Haiti and elsewhere. Bumi Sehat plans to create a disaster preparedness warehouse and team so they are able to respond quickly and efficiently when disaster strikes.

If you are moved to do so, I would gratefully ask that you make a tax-deductible donation to Bumi Sehat (a 501C3, non-profit foundation) by sending a check made out to Shakti Foundation for Yayasan Bumi Sehat, 1507 Lone Oak Circle, Fairfield IA 52556. Thank you for your generosity.

My heart belongs to Bumi Sehat. And I love Robin Lim so much. She asked what I did in the world before I retired and when I told Robin that I had been a paralegal and an executive assistant, she said “Oh, Lakshmi, Bumi Sehat needs you so much.” Well, that was all I had to hear to know that I will return to spend as much time in Bali as I can and do whatever I can for Robin and Bumi Sehat. When I retired, I swore to myself that I would never again sit at a computer and do office work … but all bets are off when it comes to Bumi Sehat! I am so honored to be a part of the beautiful, devoted staff and volunteers who work together as a loving and cohesive team at Bumi Sehat. I want my life to make a difference and I consider it a great personal blessing to be able to serve Bumi Sehat and to help create its vision for improved community health as a cornerstone in the building of world peace.


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13 Responses to “Bumi Sehat: The real reason I will move to Bali”

  1. Magdalena Babuljak Says:

    LaLaMaMa – You’ve never looked this radiant. Those beautiful babies know they are loved by you. What blessings Bali has brought to all of you.

  2. Lynette Lynch Says:

    Beautiful, simply beautiful. The babies, the place, the parents … YOU.

    • lakshmilove Says:

      Thank you so much, Lynette. I love Bali so much! These babies are so precious, every one of them. I may extend my visit here for three more months … the operative word here is “may.” I think Derek needs me back home. Ahhhh, motherhood is a lifelong job! I hope all is well with you, dear one.

  3. Julie Says:

    Lakshimi Love!! This is so wonderful, even though I miss you dearly I know you are following your heart. You are beautiful! Love you!!!

    • lakshmilove Says:

      Hey Julie, guess what!? I’ve got some blue hair on my head … in your honor! If I stay in Bali until November 30th. When do you go to Taipai? Thanks for your love and support, honey.

      • lakshmilove Says:

        Julie, honey, ignore my earlier reply. I thought I was writing to a young woman whom I worked with at Peralta Community College District … but I realize this is my Julie of Julie & Jerry fame. Circumstances dictate that I return to California on September 30th … to face reality! And be responsible! Arrgghhh! Big love to both of you!

      • julie Says:

        This is indeed the Julie you worked with at Peralta and your hottubbing partner! 🙂 I won’t be making it to Taipei this year after all so I’ll be awaiting your return at the end of the month. The blue looks great! Love you!!!

    • lakshmilove Says:

      Pamela, I know that you understand what a blessing it is for me to be so accepted and loved by the Balinese people. Thanks for your words of advice regarding the photos! Big love to you and your honey.

  4. Pamela Pollock Says:

    oh lakshmi! simply wonderful! what a marvelous experience you are having. you are truly blessed. (on a side note for others who are viewing this page….if you click on those two partial pictures and drag them to the right you can see the rest of the picture and then it will snap back in place…..you can see the baby with the umbilicus still attached to the placenta in the bowl with the flowers! lovely).
    sending love your way! pamela

  5. Heather Holland Says:

    Aloha Lakshmi! What an inspiration you are! Your sharing brought back memories of my travels to Jamaica when I was in nursing school. After a horrendous experience in labor and delivery at a well-known hospital here, and having had my second son at home with a midwife, I wanted to reaffirm the power and beauty of natural childbirth. I stayed with a nurse-midwife and helped to birth two babies in her home. Not as much ceremony, but again, birth was considered a natural experience and babies were born in peace and quiet with loving support from the midwife. Her statistics for healthy births were also amazing. “First-world” countries have definately gone down the wrong road when it comes to nurturing and guiding babies into the world. I am so happy that you have embraced and been embraced by Bumi Sehat – I will be forwarding a donation in your honor to help further their work. Love ya!

  6. lakshmilove Says:

    Heather, what a sweetheart you are! I love your story and totally agree that babies and birthing and new parents are absolutely the most precious experiences we can have! The statistics at Bumi Sehat are so heartwarming and positive. Thank you so, so much for making a donation to Bumi Sehat. I will let you know when the CNN voting for “CNN Hero of the Year” begins so you can vote for Robin Lim. If you get a chance, check out my Facebook page and what I’ve posted there about this. Big love to you, dear one!

  7. Teresa LeYung Ryan Says:

    Dear Lakshmi,
    I’m speechless…. Here I was, looking at your photos, thinking about you . . . and my cell phone rang . . . and the caller was You!!!!!!!
    It’s Sunday night here. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for calling me. I will pray and pray that after you come home to sort business, you’ll have the freedom to return to Bali again. And I will pray for Derek and career. Your Skype call was Reiki for me. Thank you, darling beautiful Goddess of Abundance & Prosperity. Sweet dreams to you. Love you lots! Teresa

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