Timeline of Ibu (Mother) Robin
Her parents met and married in 1954, in the mountain city of
Baguio, on the island of Luzon, Philippines. Lim's father,
Robert Arnold Jehle was of Irish~German~Native American
descent. Her mother, Cresencia Munar Lim is a blend of
Filipino~Chinese ancestry. Robin Teresa Jehle was born in 1956,
in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, as their
first child. The next
year the family moved to New Jersey, where Robin's sister,
Christine plus three brothers, Robert, Carl and Gregory,
Due to Robin's father's work in the US Army, the family
moved often, in fact each time CW3 Robert A. Jehle got new
military orders. While Robin was in grade 1 the family moved
to Seattle, Washington, where she attended Our Lady of
Lourdes elementary school. Here Robin and her sister,
Christine, learned what it was like to be half Asian
children in the political climate of the 1960s. Lim has a
clear memory of the lunchroom trauma when it was announced
that President John F. Kenedy had been shot.
By 1964 the family was moved to Okinawa, in the Ryukyu
Islands. Here Robin and her siblings enjoyed an enchanted
and perilous childhood. Military housing was close to the
East China Sea, where a wonderland of creatures could be
found and explored in the mudflats at low tide. Okinawa's
venomous Habu snakes, unexploded bombs leftover from WWII,
typhoons, earthquakes, and many forbidden caves, gave
children growing up on the island a feeling that they were
living on the edge of danger. Robin attended 4th grade at
Kadena Elementary School. While standing at the bus stop
each morning Robin saw the crowded ambulance busses
transporting injured soldiers flown in from the conflict in
Vietnam, to the nearby hospital. It was these desperate
faces and broken bodies that taught her to abhor war.
In 1967 Robin's father took orders for Clark Air Force Base.
Robin's mother, now Cresencia Jehle decided not to live on
the military base, but to bring the children to the mountain
city of Baguio, her childhood hometown. CW3 Jehle commuted
up Zig-zag road each weekend to spend time with his family.
It was in Baguio City that Robin began to write. The
day-to-day Lim family drama, the mountain springs, forests
carpeted with pine needles, red poinsettias, and yellow
sunflowers amid the clouds drove her out into nature to
explore. The often rainy cooler climate would alternately
drive her indoors, to make her first attempts at writing
Vicenta Munar Lim, Robin's maternal grandmother nursed young
Lim through a life threatening kidney infection with massage
and herbal decoctions. The respected elder "hilot" (Filipino
healer) refused to allow the military doctors to medi-vac
young Robin by helicopter to Manila for treatment.
Ten-year-old Lim bonded with her "Lola Nanang" and learned
to trust traditional cultural medicine.
While living in Baguio City Robin experienced the loss of
friends she had played with when a typhoon caused a mudslide
beside the family home, which buried several people along
with their shack homes. She watched as her "Lola" then
already in her seventies, dug with her hands through the mud
and debris, attempting to help the buried souls. She knew
that his old woman, her grandmother, was a legendary
traditional midwife in the Barangays (villages). When a
neighbor's cleft palate baby was dying, Robin learned from
her Lola, to help as well.
By 1969 CW3 Robert A Jehle received orders to serve in the
war in Vietnam. He moved his family to the then small
community of Goleta in Southern California. In Goleta Robin
and her siblings attended El Rancho, an experimental
elementary school that encouraged creativity. As a
schoolgirl coming from the Philippines, Robin was quite
frightened by the "bigness" of the United States of America.
It was her friendship with Sandi Coe, and the Coe family,
that sustained her. While 11 to 12 years old, Mrs. Coe
taught Robin to sew, and skill she till treasures when she
must suture people.
When Lim's father returned quite traumatized by the Vietnam
war, the family moved to Ft. Ord Military base. Robin and
her siblings kept a pet California King snake. Imagine a
middle school girl's sorrow seeing battalion after battalion
of young privates, marching daily by her home and school.
Lim knew that each of these young people would be , by
deployed to Vietnam, following a brief Basic Training. She
also knew by age thirteen, that some of them would not
After one year at Ft. Ord, the family returned to Goleta,
where Lim attended Middle School and soon entered Dos
Pueblos High School. The students and staff of Dos Pueblos
are to be congratulated for the inspired way that school was
running. Lim participated in student government, girl's swim
team, wrote poetry and joined theater arts. She became
impassioned with "Puffets" a puppetry performance group,
which toured local elementary schools. Her favorite subject
was "Family Life Education," taught by Lee Beckom, where she
became excited about reproductive health, a passion she
At age fifteen Robin ran away from home. During this time
she worked as a maid in a hotel and picked blueberries in
Maine as a farm worker. She missed her family terribly,
especially her sister, Christine. Due to Robert Jehle
suffering from Vietnam stress syndrome, it was a difficult
time for the family.
While still in high school Lim met her first husband, Ed
Bernhardt, who at that time was the school student body
president. The couple lived in France after graduation,
where the worked on staff for Transcendental Meditation
Lim (who was still using her paternal family name of Jehle)
and Bernhardt attended Santa Barbara City College. They rode
bicycles to school daily. Ed worked at the Santa Barbara
Botanical gardens and Lim drove the 1/3 scale model train,
the C.P. Huntington at the Child's Estate Zoo. Lim graduated
from SBCC with an AA.
In 1976 at the age of nineteen, Robin became a mother. Déjà
Cresencia Jehle Bernhardt was born at home in a small 35' by
8' trailer on Punta Gorda St. in Santa Barbara, California.
The midwives Debby Lowry and Mary Jackson were in
attendance. For Robin childbirth was quick and blissful.
Breastfeeding was challenging the first few days, but then
became easy and she breastfed Baby Déjà for four years.
While Déjà was an infant the small family moved to Iowa,
where Ed Bernhardt attended Maharishi International
University. Lim stayed home and was a nursing mother and did
free lance worked stringing beads and making shawls to
support the family.
Lim studied the TM Sidhi's course during which she fell
pregnant with her second child, Edward Noël Bernhardt.
"Noël" was also born at home in Santa Barbara. While Noël
was still a toddler, Ed Bernhardt left the marriage.
At age 24 Robin found herself a single mother with a broken
heart. She moved with her two small children to Hawaii. On
the island of Maui she took her mother's family name, Lim,
and reinvented her life. She supported her children by
retailing crystal jewelry, which she crafted while the
Lim briefly married a doctor in private practice, but this
relationship lasted but a few months, as Lim was still too
shattered from her first divorce. She did however learn to
do simple lab work. It was during this time in Maui, in her
mid 20s that Lim's first article was published by Mothering
By 1982 the legendary science fiction author, Theodore
Sturgeon offered a course for writers through the "Maui
University of Humanistic Studies." Lim was taking creative
writing and modern dace classes at Maui Community College
when she heard about the opportunity to study with Sturgeon
and his wife and gifted co-teacher, Jayne Sturgeon. It
should be noted that most of the participants in this course
went on to become published authors. Sturgeon was said to
have put "Love" into the Science Fiction genre. He taught
Lim to write and to live from her heart. Ted believed that
being a good neighbor was a wonderful way to live, day to
It was in Sturgeon's class that Lim met Margo Berdeshevsky,
who would become her life-long friend and sometimes a
creative collaborator. Another classmate, John Briley M.D.,
a children's book author, became Lim's dear friend and
advisor in pediatric care questions.
In 1984 Lim met Author Lee, with whom she had two children.
Amanda Zhòu Lee was born at home on April 9th, 1985 in Kihei
into the loving hands of Sunny Supplee, assisted by her dear
friend Rose Momsen and her seven year old daughter, Déjà.
Zion Pao Shun Lee was born on a warm windy night, under the
stars into a warm tub of water that the midwives, Jan
Francisco and Tina Garzero had set out doors beside the
night blooming jasmine. It was August 17th, 1989. Lim had
already parted ways with Lee, and found herself a single
mother with four children and a very supportive community in
Maui. Lim was the soul support of her family, making crystal
jewelry and selling retail and wholesale, while dreaming of
becoming a writer.
In 1991~ 92 Robin Lim's midwife, Sunny Supplee, her dear
friend, Brenda Swartz, and her sister, Christine Jehle Kim,
This trinity of loss forced Lim to deeply into her self,
where she saw she was not fully devoted to living in her
heart. From tragedy Lim decide to live her life, each and
every day, only for love. Lim threw herself into finishing
her first book, After the Baby's Birth… A Woman's Way to
Wellness (Celestial Arts, Berkeley, CA, 1992). She loved
living in the country, off the grid, milking goats and
growing her family's food. She then contemplated becoming a
From this decision, to live only for love, Lim found many
blessings began to unfold. William Joseph Hemmerle Jr.
Returned from New Jersey to Maui, a single father, due to
the death of his wife, Brenda Swartz. Wil's children,
Lakota, age five and Thoreau, age three, were already very
familiar with Robin, due to their mother's friendship with
her. Living in the Huelo area of Maui, Wil and Robin fell in
love amid the waterfalls, and farm animals. One rainy
morning Robin and Wil's shared children watched a goose egg
hatch. Soon Wil was writing songs for Robin and serenading
her in the wee hours below her window.
William Hemmerle threw his heart into Lim's "Live only for
Love" circle. Soon they were a married couple, moving their
shared children to Bali. After arriving on the island
called, "the morning of the world" Wil and Robin conceived a
baby. This son, I. Wayan Hanoman Eka Bumi Saputra Hokulani
Hemmerle, was born in Bali, at home, into his father's
hands, with the help of Aile Shebar, on February 2, 1993. In
Bali Lim became best known as, "Ibu Robin."
Ibu Robin worked for Linda Garland as a teacher for a few
children in a small school Linda had built on the River Wos
in Nyuh Kuning, Bali. The experience of being pregnant in
Bali and searching for clean, kind midwifery care drove Lim
to brainstorm with her husband Wil, friends, Loren Blair,
Sophia Galen, Linda Garland and Wayan Budiasa. From these
wonderings, and after a woman across the river died in
childbirth, before help could be called, the seeds of
Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) were
Prenatal care began in Lim's home. Soon she was accompanying
women in labor to the hospitals in Bali, as a doula (someone
who mothers the mother). Sangla, Dharma Yadnya and Puri
Raharja Hospitals in Denpasar, Bali began to call Ibu Robin
in to help when they were short handed in the delivery
rooms. Then the few surviving "Dukun Bayi" (traditional
birth attendants) in the area began to send expectant
fathers to Lim's home, to fetch her to help attend
homebirths in the villages.
June Whitson CNM came to Bali many times from 1995 to 1998,
to train Lim as a midwife. This blessed apprenticeship with
June led Ibu Robin to turn to the North American Registry of
Midwives to review her experience and education. After
passing the NARM skills assessment and completing extensive
study and application in the "Challenge program" Lim sat for
the NARM exam and became a Certified professional Midwife.
Latter Lim's midwifery qualification from NARM was
recognized by Ikatan Bidan Indonesia, (Indonesian Midwifery
Association aka IBI) and IBI made her a member.
In February of 1997 Ibu Robin was midwife for her own
daughter, Déjà, and received her first grandchild, Zhòuie
into the world.
In 1998 what is known as the "Krismon" struck down the
Indonesian economy and the then President, Soharto stepped
down amid civil unrest that led Wil and Robin to take their
family to the Philippines where the family resided for a
year. There, the family got to know the extended Lim family
in the mountain city of Baguio. Robin continued to practice
midwifery, helping the underserved people in the Barangays
and upcountry regions. She also taught Natural Family
Planning (Lim is a certified teacher of the Billing's
Ovulation Method on Natural Family Planning) in remote
mountain villages where there was no access to other methods
of birth control.
In late 1999 the family went to Iowa, where Robin practiced
midwifery in the small town of Fairfield. In 2002 the
terrorists bombings in Bali left the economy so damaged that
pregnant women had even fewer resources for care. This
prompted Lim to return to Bali and open the Yayasan Bumi
Sehat community health clinic and childbirth center, in the
small village of Nyuh Kuning, just south of the Ubud Monkey
Supported by Yayasan IDEP, under the leadership of Petra
Schnieder, Lim led a team of medics from Bumi Sehat Bali in
response to the 9.3 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that
struck in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26th, 2004.
Lim's team established a Tsunami Relief Clinic with a focus
on general and reproductive health and birth services for
the survivors. The IDEP disaster relief field team headed by
Christine Foster, built a temporary clinic in the village of
Gompong Cot, Aceh Barat, close to the epicenter of the
disaster. In 2006 Rotary Club S.E. Asia built the Bumi Sehat
Aceh Clinic, which remains open and serving the survivors of
the tsunami, though other NGOs left long ago. Direct Relief
International, in Santa Barbara, California partnered with
Bumi Sehat to provide operational funds for the Tsunami
Relief clinic in Aceh for three years.
Reviewing Lim's disaster relief work; Ibu Robin was an early
medical responder to the earthquake in Yogyakarta in 2006.
She sent a Bumi Sehat medical team to Padang following the
Earthquake in 2009. Lim helped a team establish a birth
center in cooperation with the Dept. of Health in Jacmel,
Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. This facility was later
handed over to another organization to run for
Ibu Robin and Bumi Sehat are planning to build a "Disaster
Relief Gudang (warehouse)" in Bali, which will be called,
"The Bumi Ark". This will enable the team to respond more
quickly and efficiently, thus preserving life, when
disasters strike in Indonesia. In 2005 Lim and Bumi Sehat
were joined by humanitarian, Katherine Bramhall, CPM, of
Allies for Trauma Relief. Bramhall worked with Bumi Sehat
Bali and in Aceh post tsunami. in 2010 Bramhall became the
team pillar at Bumi Seht Haiti. To support Bumi Sehat
Bramhall invented "A Million Mothers."
Eventually Katherine Bramhall helped establish Bumi Sehat
International a USA 501 C3 and she serves on the board.
Sakthi Foundation in Fairfled Iowa has been a supporting 501
C3 umbrella organization for Bumi Sehat since 2003. Their
support has been very important in keeping Lim's projects
alive and well.
In 2007 Ibu Robin again became a grandmother when her
daughter-in-love, Wine Pramiyanti Bernhardt gave birth to a
son. Bodhi was born at home in Bali, into his grandmother's
In 2009 Lim's first novel, Butterfly People, was published
by Anvil Press, Philippine Islands.
Lim was nominated, elected and
recognized as the #1 CNN Hometown Hero, on December 11,
Robin Lim's Family:
Husband, William Joseph Hemmerle Jr.
Daughter, Déjà Cresencia Jehle Bernhardt, born in 1976
Son, Edward Noël Bernhardt, born in 1980
Daughter, Amanda Zhòu Lee, born in1985
Son, Zion Pao Shun Lee, born in 1987
Step Daughter, Lakota Moira Hemmerle, born in 1986
Step Son, Thoreau Joshuila Hemmerle, born in 1988
Son, I. Wayan Hanoman Eka Bumi Suptra Hoku Lani Hemmerle,
born in 1993
Adopted daughter, EllyAnna Elfaba Hemmerle, born in 2006
Granddaughter, Amanda Zhòu Martinez, born in, born in 1997
Grandson, Bodhi Padma Edzra Banjo Bernhardt, born in 2007
IImportant Links for ibu Robin Lim:
above will take you to a piece I did with the help of Jim
Luce about my Sister's death.
are links to an article Jim Luce did about Bumi Sehat
Huffington Post: Balinese
Natural Birthing Center Threatened by Global Downturn
Natural Birthing Center Threatened by Global Downturn
above should take you the Al Jazeera People & Power piece
that my husband worked on with Jungle Run Productions. Some
of it was filmed at Bumi Sehat, and I consulted on the
Daughter's website, where you may see her trailers for the
films, "Guerrilla Midwife" and "Tsunami Notebook"