The country of Indonesia is made up of over 18,000 islands in Southeast Asia, and it has the forth largest population in the world. BandS first traveled there on a mission to provide relief for areas that were hit by the tsunami of 2004. The trip was organized by a non-profit organization out of Lake Jackson, Texas, called TEARS.

 

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The purpose of the mission was two-fold; first, to bring food and supplies to people who's lives were affected by the tsunami, and second, to conduct medical, dental and optical clinics in those areas where the disaster hit. So on this first trip, BandS provided volunteers and supplies for the clinics, while helping to organize and fund the disaster relief.

 

Various US companies donated rice and dehydrated foods for the cause, while the actual shipping was handled by a non-profit organization, called Rapha International, out of Fort Worth, Texas. The disaster relief was distributed on the main island of Java and on the much smaller island of Nias. It was on Nias that we realized a great need, because out of a population of 700,000, there were only 20 physicians.

 

Now BandS participates regularly in medical missionary trips to Nias. In 2005 it was discovered that 5500 people on the island were blind, and of that group, 90% had lost their sight because they did not have access to cataract surgery, a procedure that is considered common in the United States. See Slideshow and Watch Video

 

So now we're hiring doctors from the neighboring island of Sumatra to provide free cataract surgery for those suffering on Nias. The program has been so successful, that we have expanded to provide surgeries for cleft lips and palates, as well as other common surgeries.

 

Our volunteers who travel to Indonesia can expect the trip to last ten to fifteen days. There is a need for all kinds of surgery, so medical teams are needed to operate in the local hospital, as well as attend clinics. But because of difficult working conditions and primitive accommodations, this trip is really for experienced travelers. The clinics are usually very remote, road conditions can be difficult, and the weather is often hot and humid.

 

We have been a supporter of the Yokobed House on the island of Nias for several years. All the children who call this place home, were taken from situations where their ability to survive was questionable. You would be blessed to see them now. All of them are in school, well fed and well cared for. See Slideshow

 

Indonesia is also a predominately Muslim country, so we are careful to respect their culture and work within the requirements of the government. There are, however, small groups of Christians throughout the country, and we eagerly support them without being overt in our approach. We do find that all Indonesians, regardless of their religion, are very appreciative of the kindness they receive from BandS volunteers. This makes the trip very rewarding for those who are up to the challenge.

At a Glance

Capital: Jakarta

 

Official language: Indonesian

 

Land Area: 735,355 sq mi

 

Population: 237,424,363

 

Per Capita GDP (Nominal): $3,464

 

Currency: Rupiah (IDR)