The Foreign Service Journal, May 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2024 53 Nepal: Assistance After Disaster BRONWYN LLEWELLYN After the 2015 Nepal earthquake, U.S. Embassy Kathmandu literally opened its doors to help. At one point we were feeding about 600 people—American citizens, Nepali local staff, and others— as well as rapidly repurposing our development programs into disaster relief operations, facilitating U.S. military aid, coordinating with other donors, fielding calls from loved ones looking for family members, helping tourists get plane tickets home, and even physically going out to help dig latrines or hand out supplies to those who had lost everything. We showcased the best of America then, and I am proud to have been a part of it. Worldwide: Promoting Wellness ASTER HELEN TECLEMARIAM As a medical provider in the Foreign Service, I have had the privilege of serving our country in posts around the world. Since I joined in 2009, my journey has taken me to Sri Lanka, Moldova, Algeria, Israel, Pakistan, South Sudan, Iraq, South Africa, Washington, D.C., and Türkiye. Each assignment has been a unique and fulfilling experience, allowing me to immerse myself in different cultures and make a positive impact on the health and well-being of our diplomatic community. Being part of the Foreign Service has not only allowed me to do the job I love but has also instilled a sense of pride in representing our nation on the international stage. Indonesia: Reducing Greenhouse Gas AMBASSADOR BOB BLAKE While I was ambassador to Indonesia from 2013 to 2016, then– Secretary of State John Kerry asked us to figure out how we could help Indonesia reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We developed a composite of the most progressive sustainability policies of the palm oil companies operating in Indonesia, validated that with national and international nongovernmental organizations working on climate and environment in Indonesia, and then quietly got the agreement of the major palm oil companies. Indonesia’s Chamber of Commerce finally carried this forward as a made-in-Indonesia initiative. GHG emissions from deforestation have fallen steadily since then. India: The Dying American AARON H. PRATT I was serving as a consular officer in India in 2017. Donald was an American retiree, residing in Chennai. He was in and out of consciousness, the same way he had been in and out of touch with his family. I took his hand. “My name is Aaron. I am from the United States consulate. If you understand, squeeze my hand.” His hand pressed mine. “I’ve talked to your daughters. They are coming. If you understand, squeeze my hand.” He pressed again. “They want you to know they love you.” He squeezed many times, each weaker. He was gone when they arrived. We wept together. Vietnam: O Positive AMBASSADOR TED OSIUS At 6:10 p.m. on Oct. 26, 1996, I was the embassy duty officer when Marines patched through a call from a provincial hospital in remote Yên Bái province, northwest of Hanoi. A 36-year-old American had been hit by a truck while riding a motorcycle. He had suffered massive internal injuries and was bleeding to death. I called the embassy doctor, who told me to collect O positive blood. Thirteen members of the embassy community came forward to donate, waiting their turns until 2 a.m., none of them complaining. Embassy drivers took the doctor and a makeshift ambulance across the rough roads to reach that American. I called his parents in Peoria, Illinois. Distraught, his mother said to me: “Please, please save him. I’ve already lost one son. I can’t lose another.” At 6 a.m., doctor and patient boarded an evacuation flight with several liters of O positive blood. In Singapore, the doctors said that our efforts, and especially the donated blood, had saved the American’s life. Russia: Thanked by a Great Artist MARY KRUGER In the mid-1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, expat Russian artists who had been banned from the USSR began to return to the country. Many made a stop in St. Petersburg, where, as public affairs officer, I was lucky to attend many of their performances.