|The road to Bener Meriah|
|One of the temporary tents built by the government at Bener Meriah|
Salahudin is a friend of Misbah's brother but he has never known her. The road to Sigli is excellent and after slightly more than 2 hours we arrived in Meurdu. Misbah and her family cheerfully waited for us at the entrance of their house. It's Ramadhan, so we are not delayed by the traditional culture of entertaining guests with food and drinks..that's very much Asian culture. We bade farewell to everyone and continued our journey. Sumatera and Aceh in particular is not densely populated like Java island, and moreover the 2004 Tsunami had killed more than 200,000 people of Aceh. Along the way, our conversation touches on several issues from Tsunami, politics, economics, social and the current earthquakes in Kabupaten Bener Meriah and Kabupaten Central Aceh.
|Narrow unpaved roads after the earthquake and several landslides|
|At Simpang Balek, we stop at this shop to look for some locals who could |
help us to locate the affected villages
|The teacher on the left has been teaching in this school for 24 years|
Their faces tell the deep suffering they have undergone but their perseverance are beyond imagination. With about $1,500 USD from the government, the male teacher and some villagers were busy building the temporary school for the kids but he kindly took time to explain to us the current situation. Everyone at the site gathered under the tree, they have so much to tell as they described their nightmares. Speechless, we took a deep breath! We had to move on to other areas and several houses along our way were empty and abandoned by the owners as it was not safe to stay there.
We accomplished what we intended to do in Bener Meriah, to deliver some aids and school supplies for the children. Misbah and Salahudin reminded us that we need to get out of the area before it gets foggy and dark. We bade goodbye and left the area with sadness and prayers for the victims. We pray that they are able to rebuild their lives again and the kids can get to school as soon as possible. This is a memorable Ramadhan for me.
|Houses in the villages at Ketol|
|Many houses, mosques and schools went all flat|
|Although some houses structures are visible, the damages have made it unsafe to live in|
|The remains of the school administrative building aren't safe anymore|
|Regardless of the calamity - the kids happily played on the piles of table and chairs|
|They managed to picked some books from the debris|
|The dangerous side to side movement of the earthquake brought down the main school building|
|Most houses are not safe to live in|
|In Ketol, these tents are their new homes, schools and offices|
|They are determined to rebuild their lives - our prayers are always with them|