24 April 2005 – Aaron
Back to Acheh

The journey to Banda Aceh from Austin is not for the weak.  The 7:00 am departing flight
on United from Austin takes you through San Francisco (5 hours plus layover), through
Tokyo Narita (13 hours + 5 hours layover), and on to arriving in Singapore (7 hours + an
overnight stay) at midnight.  I made it to the hotel by about 1:00 am and needed some
spicy Singaporean food, which I picked up at an all-night, outside food court next to the
Allson Hotel.   

Being the self-proclaimed jock that I am, I asked the concierge guy about the gym and he
assured me that it was fully equipped to handle the workout I was going to do the next
morning.  Well, after a total of about 4 hours of sleep, I hit the gym.  All equipment sucked
and after doing pushups and sit-ups in my weird, jet-lagged and sleep-deprived state, I
rushed for my next flights departing at 11:00 am the morning after my arrival in Singapore.

My arrival to Medan had me in a major rush with a 20 minute connection.  As happens
anywhere you go in Indonesia, someone is always there to take your bag or give you a
hand in hopes of a little tip.  A dude there made it his personal goal to help me make my
flight, and helped me rush through customs and getting a temporary visa, through two
security checkpoints, and onto my plane in time for departure…all without me having to
show my ID even once.  The lack of security was pretty scary.  When I told Eric about what
happened to me in Medan, he said he had experienced virtually the same thing a few
days earlier during his return to BA from Singapore.  At least this country is consistent.

Once I made it to BA, Eric was waiting at the other terminal and I missed him.  But guess
who I ran into?  Once again, none other than Yoss from Yogjakarta.  He is currently
working for another agency and was there to pick someone up.  The guy seems to be
everywhere and he gave me a ride to the office/warehouse/room we call AIRO

Upon arriving and after lots of hugs and bullshitting with Eric, we went to the Bigtop
Restaurant to eat.  Playing over the speaker system was a very nice saxophone rendition
of “Silver Bells”-a little unexpected in April and in an area that is 99% Islam, but hey, this
is Indonesia.  The Christmas ambiance was eerie.

The village of Lampuloh considers itself the fishing center of Aceh province.  Once home
to 6800 people, only 2200 people survived the Tsunami and although most immediately
left the area, about 1200 have returned.  The place is scattered with boat debris.  These
are BIG boats 60 to +100 feet long, and are strewn about as though they were toys,
including an 80 footer still perched precariously on top of a house.  A few weeks back
Eric had come across a report prepared by Pak Subidah, the local sea commander,
listing the boats, their condition and whether the owner was alive or dead.  Of 91 large,
+60 foot boats identified by Pak Subidah, only 27 survived the tsunami enough to even
be considered repairable.  A few examples are as follows:

-The Jasa Ikan Terbang (Flying Fish II) is owned by Mr. Abu Bakar.
Originally purchased for around US$45k, this boat is about 75 feet long, normally has a
crew of 30 guys and brings in an average of 50 tons of fish per week.  Of 3 big boats like
this one and 5 smaller ones owned by Mr. Bakar prior to the Tsunami, only two big ones
remain.  Mr. Bakar lost all 4 daughters, his son, his wife, his house and office in the
tsunami.  He has been trying to salvage this boat using scrap materials and is very close
to getting it back in the water.  Literally a couple of days and 6 or 7 thousand dollars
away, he is at a standstill as he has run out of money.  He simply needs a used fish box
and a few smaller repairs to get his guys back to work.

-The Ikan Terbang (Flying Fish I) is also owned by Pak Abu Bakar.  It
is about 70 feet long, normally uses a crew of 35 fishermen and brings in 50 tons per
week.  Instead, it sits waiting for a Mitsubishi 6 cylinder 220 HP engine, a gear drive to
the prop and a 120 HP Mitsubishi 4 cylinder 30 kilowatt generator engine.  Some stern
and hull work remain unfinished.  If a used engine and generator were purchased and
the remaining woodwork completed, this boat could be back in business within 1 month
for about US$5k.  However, this boat is also missing its 1300 meter-long (!) net system.  
These ¾ mile-long nets are worth almost half as much as the boat itself at +US$17k.  
Although a handful of used nets are available for around US$8k, most of the boats in the
area will require new nets.

-The Bintang Purnama I (Star and Full Moon I) is owned by Pak Subidah,
the local sea commander.  This huge 80 foot boat needs a 350 HP Nissan 8 cylinder
engine, a smaller 100 HP electric generator engine and some small repairs to the hull
and bow.  For about US$6k and a month of repairs, this boat could be back to work
employing a crew of 25 and would be bringing in 30 tons of fish per week and
subsequent economical benefits to the area.

-The Fortuna, owned by Pak Usman, is a 60 foot boat that sustained
very little damage, requiring about US$2-3k to be back in use.  There are a couple of
holes in the side and bottom that will take a few weeks to repair.  Once again however,
the 1300 meter net was destroyed and must be replaced as well before the boat can be
used to fish.

-The Bolivia is a 65 foot boat owned by Pak Rusdi.  It needs about
US$5k and a month of repairs to the boat itself, but is also missing the fishing net.

-The Aneuk Syukur II (Thankful Child II) also owned by Pak Rusdi, was
built in 1998 at a cost of about US$45k.  It is 65 feet long and uses a 140 HP Mitsubishi
engine.  Presently, only the cabin can be seen above the water as it sits at the bottom of
the river and is a total loss.

-The current boat-repair crew of Lampulo uses 2 master craftsmen and
about 6 apprentices.  They work together, moving from boat to boat as a group, sharing
the very limited tools that remain.  The tools needed for these boat repairs are extremely
simple.  To be most effective,
the crew needs to purchase additional drills and saws, simple generators and hand
tools such as hammers and screwdrivers, all at a cost of around US$2-4k.  It is crazy
how such small amounts of funds can do so much.

AIRO’s approach is to do a case-by-case evaluation of each boat and
the feasibility to repair or replace them.  Our model is to apply our limited resources to
benefit the most people in the shortest amount of time.  We verify ownership, and apply
judgment as to the total economic impact to the region in a given situation.  

Yes, it is good to be back in Aceh.  Although this place is disorganized, crazy and
certainly frustrating at times, I am so excited that we are making huge progress on our
current boat project in KR.  Possibly more exciting yet is the progress the AIRO team is
making towards identifying new and meaningful projects going forward.  Once our filings
for non-profit status are complete and approved, AIRO’s Adopt-A-Boat program, our Lend-
Repay-Relend funding program, peripheral fishing-support industries, and other
projects will be rolled out.  

Thanks and Merry Christmas!


Aaron C. Lyman
President, AIRO
Austin International Rescue & Relief Operations
Indonesian Cellular from USA:  011-62-81-51356-0011
From Indonesia:  081-51356-0011
USA Cellular: 1-512-750-5096
Journal Entries - Click to

16 April 2006 - Eddie

22 January 2006 - Eric

27 September 2005 - Eric

6 September 2005 - Eddie

1 August 2005 - Eddie

28 July 2005 - Eddie

4 July 2005 - Aaron

16 June 2005 - Aaron

19 May 2005 – Eric

18 May 2005 - Aaron

24 April 2005 – Aaron

14 April 2005 – Eric

29 March 2005 – Eric

28 March 2005 - IM-Aaron/Eric

26 March 2005 – Eric

25 March 2005 – Eric

15 March 2005 – Aaron

16 March 2005 – Eric

11 March 2005 – Eric

3 March 2005 – Eric

27 February 2005 – Eric

23 February 2005 – Aaron

23 February 2005 – Eric

20-22 February 2005 – Eric

18 February 2005 – Eddie

18 February 2005 – Eric

16 February 2005 – Eddie

10-12 February 2005 – Eric

12 February 2005 – Eddie

11 February 2005 – Aaron

10 February 2005 – Eddie

9 February 2005 – Eddie

7 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Eddie

5 February 2005 – Part 2 –

4 February 2005 – Eddie

2 February 2005 – Aaron

1 February 2005 – Eddie

30 January 2005 – Eric
Becak cycle is forty five years old
Net care
Pasar Neusu
Just when you think it can't get
any deeper...
it gets deeper
Boat at rest
Lampulo rebuilds
Journal Entries
Journal Entries
The entire Lampulo boat-repair
tool kit:  Can I borrow the
Nets and boat four months later