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
We enjoyed a great meal with new friends.
Afternoon 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.