16 April 2006 - Eddie

Peunayong, Banda Aceh

Entries here may be few and far between, but AIRO continues to play an important role in
livelihood recovery for Acehnese fishermen - 15 months after the tsunami disaster, and
counting!  Yes, work in country continues to be good and plentiful.

AIRO continues to work in three areas of livelihood recovery for fisheries: large fishing
vessel restoration, large fishing net fabrication, and new boat construction.  

AIRO’s success in Krueng Raya boat building has persuaded the UNFAO to partner with
AIRO in the training and management of their other like boat building facilities. Two
weeks ago AIRO hosted 20 boatbuilders from around Northern Sumatra to a weekend-
long training workshop at our Krueng Raya facility.   T-shirts included the AIRO logo
along side that of the UNFAO, the European Commission, and the Spanish flag stating
“From the People of Spain”    -- Very Cool!

I have now been in country 6 months and soloing it since mid January.  It’s been very
good.  My biggest struggle has been with the immediate street we live on as it has been
a Petri dish of “flu-baru”… but that has just changed!  This weekend the police showed
up to exit the street full of vendors selling fish, chickens, and cow all mixed in together –
and it really stinks.  

The city is fixing the streets here and needs to move everyone out to fix this one.  The first
two truckloads of local police were turned away in quick order by the much larger market
crowd’s eruption of vocal opposition.  It worked.  But only until later that night when the
bulldozers showed up and just leveled the dozens and dozens of make shift wooden
and plastic stalls.  When the sellers of fresh flesh returned in the morn, it was their
second tsunami!

I left for coffee just in time to see the last of the chicken stalls try to sell a fresh slaughter
right up until the police tipped his table over, spilling dead and live chickens in the
reddish-black slush of the street.  By then the crowds had relocated and the police had
their authority back.  And we get our street back.

I am about to take leave in a couple of weeks – a short break to give Aaron a chance to
hang out at Big Fish, Peunayong and take charge of things for a while.  I remain excited
about the work here and already am looking forward to coming back.

Building hope and livelihoods in Aceh,
Eddie
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