23 February 2005 - Eric

I was planning a leisurely trip to Krueng Raya this morning to check on wood deliveries
to the jobsite.

But first, I sat down with Azhire whom I met a few weeks ago at the media center and
saw again the other night. We wanted to have coffee and chat so I asked him to stop by
for a visit. He spoke English pretty well and told me he had read about our boat building
operation in an OXFAM publication. He was interested to know whether such a thing was
available for his village. I asked if he’d go this very night and collect some data, the same
Eddie had gotten on Krueng Raya, namely, how many people and fishermen lived in the
village before the tsunami, how many after, how many boats before, how many
remained, etc. He was excited and determined to meet me tomorrow with the data.

I was about to get up to leave for Krueng Raya but sat with another man named Mugsih
who hangs out a few doors down. He approached me for a job a few weeks ago on my
first day here in Aceh. His request was so quickly paled by others asking for the same
thing that I sort of forgot all about it. He mentioned that his village Lampoh Daya was in
need and perhaps my organization could help. He asked me to go to his village and see.

It’s been nearly two months since the disaster struck. In some villages, I’ve been the first
to arrive offering outside help. Today Mugsih brought me to where the people were just
now returning from refugee shelters to try to make a go of their own village. It is located
further inland than where the tsunami had swept the foundations clean but not as far as
where so much silt and goo were laid down.

There have been no improvements since the tsunami. There were remnants of beautiful
houses here and there, their broken marble floors piled high with deposits of heavy
materials like columns, chunks of concrete, bricks, severed palm trees and rubbish as
far as I could see in every direction.

There were some three hundred people huddled around a big tent using it as their
makeshift mosque and sleeping quarters. The big mosque was still standing but one
look through the broken walls and I could see that it was not safe to enter as the interior
columns were all buckled under the load of the dome.

With limited language ability, I resorted to offering smokes, waving, nodding, the
occasional wink and movie quotes when I got desperate. After running out of words in
minutes I walked into the crowd sitting on jagged slabs. They were quiet and down much
like the people of Labuy or Lampineng a month ago.

There was a huge black kettle not far from the tent with a scrap wood fire blazing beneath
it. The cook stirred the boiling concoction with a wooden bowl tied to the end of a long
stick.

The only water in the village, besides a few stagnant wells, trickled out a garden hose
shoved into a once-flowing artesian well. I pulled out a Katadyn water filtration pump,
with newly translated instructions in Indonesian, showed them how to use it and took the
first drink. Mugsih helped me explain it might not taste perfect but it saves you getting
sick or carrying a five-gallon jug on your shoulder on back of a motorcycle for four
kilometers to fetch a drink.

The cook offered me a sample of the featured stew reported to be diced banana branch
and lamb. The rest of the people waited patiently for dinner to be served. It tasted
damned good but I’ve never seen lamb look like that before. It didn’t matter because a
few minutes later we were shoving rice covered with the stuff down our throats with our
fingers. We all had a smoke afterward and I took a few snapshots. I was touched by their
kindness.

The village had fourteen hundred people before the tsunami but only six hundred
remained. Everyone had a survival story and I listened to as many as I could. I didn’t
know how or from where but I told Mugsih I’d get him a water tank, a pump and a tent. I
hope he finds a place to pitch it.

Jakih, Mugsih and I went to Krueng Raya and met with Marjukih, our master craftsman,
who said the wood has not yet been delivered. We all had a nice cup of coffee at the cafe
and went home.
Journal Entries - Click to
Read:

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 –
Eddie

4 February 2005 – Eddie

2 February 2005 – Aaron

1 February 2005 – Eddie

30 January 2005 – Eric
Journal Entries
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