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02/11/05 12:00AM
Total Collected:
US$ 69,122.10

Journal from the Ground
by Lisa Loomis and Sorayya Khan



Sunday, May 13, 2007

¬[05/12/07] [05/14/07]®

And on the ninth day they shopped.

We took a break from our interviews this morning to visit some local handicraft shops and a few other stores looking for gifts for our friends and family. With Cut Famelia acting as tour guide, translator and handler par excellence, we had great fun.

Cut Famelia is a tremendous resource and friend.

We were graciously hosted for a beautiful meal by Acehnese friends of Aceh Relief. They had prepared an amazing lunch for us and we very much enjoyed meeting them and had a lovely time. While Famelia took care of appointments, we returned to the hotel to regroup, heading back out at the end of the afternoon. We made a few more stops looking for last minute items and Sorayya and Famelia toured the Great Mosque. Lisa, a non-Muslim, will seek permission from the Imam to tour the mosque tomorrow.

We enjoyed a great meal with new friends.


fternoon light in the Great Mosque, Banda Aceh.

Over the course of our stay we have noticed the great disparity in the quality of construction of some of the replacement homes that have been built. It makes no sense that some of those made homeless by the tsunami have received what amount to plywood shacks for homes while others will receive solid brick houses with plastered walls and tiled floors.

Some houses are literally wood framed, banged together in haste with cracks between the wall boards and the support timbers. They have no kitchens and have outdoor bathroom/bathing facilities.

“People are not happy with them, but they accept them because they feel a bad house is better than no house,” said Cut Famelia of the Aceh Institute. It makes us wonder how people qualified for which houses and who planned which relief agencies and NGOs would build houses and where.

Construction quality varies greatly from house to house.

We do not understand why flimsy plywood shacks with gaps between the floorboards and corner boards that do not come together properly would be worth building in the first place since they will have to be rebuilt. We are saddened to see the foundation outlines and tile floor remnants of once beautiful and solidly middle class homes near and under some of the poorly built replacement houses.

¬[05/12/07] [05/14/07]®