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

Journal from the Ground
by Mazalan Kamis

April 2005

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Monday, April 18, 2005

¬[04/17/05] [04/19/05]®

SMA Fajar Harapan (Fajar Harapan High School), Banda Aceh

We visit Fajar Harapan High School (FHHS) in the evening. FHHS is a boarding school developed and funded by the State government of Aceh. The school imposes strict selection criteria in selecting its students. The school is small in size compared to many other high schools and it only accepts bright students from low income families in Aceh.

From my brief interaction with the students, I can see that they would have great potential to succeed if only the state government were able to pour in more money to further develop the capacity of the school. The school is poorly equipped: there are no laboratories, the hostel is crammed, and other facilities are much to be desired. I am told that the school is also manned by excellent teachers with many years of teaching experience. However, I am sad to learn that they haven’t received their salary for the last six months!

The students listen attentively and ask questions in English!


The boarding school is poorly equipped.


I deliver a brief presentation regarding the sister-school program envisioned by ARF. Seated next to me are two teachers who manage the school: Sabri (in blue shirt) and the school Principal (in brown).

Traditional Acehnese Wedding

I have a chance to attend the wedding of a well known young Achenese activist, Juanda, in a village about half an hour from Banda Aceh. Since we have had a busy day that began in the morning, we only manage to arrive at the wedding at 5:00 pm when the ceremony is already over. Juanda and his beautiful bride take it well since they are well aware of the hectic lifestyle of the many activists in Aceh right now. I ask him about his honeymoon, and he says, “My meeting schedule is already full for tomorrow.”

Juanda and his bride on the wedding dai. Seating in front of the couple are myself (left), Saiful, and Sylvia.


¬[04/17/05] [04/19/05]®