Journal from the Ground
by Kelly Craft and Kari Krakow
We went to visit the school, Min Mesjid Raya, in Kampung
Ateuk, where Dian’s mother teaches. The children were so excited when we
arrived. They crowded around us and kept saying “Hallo, hallo” to us. So
many smiles and greetings. Although this school was not affected by the
tsunami, some children who have suffered the loss of their own schools
have been placed there. We met the principal and other staff at the
school and gave them some of the donated supplies. Then we visited a
classroom. Here they call it grade 5, but it is the equivalent of 6th
grade in the American education system.
11AM- Saiful read and translated the letters from Kari’s children
to the class. The children loved looking at the pictures. They promised
to write letters back.
11AM- Baby Bear is looking at the work of one of the children. The
children were excited to share English with us and sang us some songs.
We sang some of our favorite songs to them “Hello There” and “Twinkle,
Twinkle, Little Star”. It was a privilege to be invited into the
classroom. It’s always interesting to see the similarities and
differences. One constant is the wonderfulness of children.
12PM- Saiful had to pick up his aunt, uncle, and their son and help
them move from their temporary post-tsunami home to the home where
Saiful and Dian lived when they were first married. While we were
picking them up, we were invited into the house to see a traditional
wedding stage for a member of his family also living there. We got to
meet the bride and see her beautiful hennaed hands.
Today we toured southern Banda Aceh, along the coast. Saiful has been
taking us to progressively more ravaged areas each tour. He has been
very sensitive to our emotional endurance, although today was very
difficult. We passed miles of IDP camps with people living in tents
surrounded by rubble. The three women in this photo are collecting scrap
metal which they can sell for money.
2PM- Today we went to a city museum
to see an exhibit of “Pameran Lukisan Anak Anak Korban Tsunami”, translation: “Painting Exhibition of
Children Surviving Tsunami”. Over three hundred drawings collected from
all over Aceh. The exhibit was sponsored by Islamic relief (www.islamic-relief.com).
The pictures showed the tsunami from a child’s point of view. The
children depicted people floating in water, climbing trees, and running
for the hills. Huge waves, black water, helicopters, and broken trees
were some of the recurring themes. It is so hard to imagine what it must
be like for the children who lived through this disaster. The exhibit
was especially poignant.
5:50PM- Our last visit in Banda
Saiful took us to the IDP camp where members of his village are
temporarily living. It was especially emotional since we had seen the
damage of the tsunami to their homes and because they were people Saiful
knew. The conditions in the camp were very depressing. It’s so hard to
imagine living this way. People were excited to see Saiful and we all
shared a moment together in a central meeting place near their tents.
5:54PM- Kari is giving donated
supplies to a child in Saiful's village.
We are signing off now. Tomorrow we are leaving Banda Aceh.