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

Summary Updates
by Saiful Mahdi

January 21, 2005 - uploaded 01/25/05 00:10AM

¬[01/20/05] [01/22/05]®

I forgot to mention that yesterday, January 20th, I found the shelter for the survivors of my village for the first time. We’d been looking around but did not know where to find them, until I got a call from my brother who had already been back to Jakarta with my surviving sister and her family. He told me that he just saw Pak Abubakar, a former community organizer of our village on Metro TV, Indonesia’s CNN-like channel. Pak Abu was interviewed from where he and others from my village were taking shelter, Gedung Sosial of Banda Aceh. My brother eagerly asked me to find them and find out anything they know about our missing siblings and family members.

I went there around noon to learn that they were under-supplied for basic needs including underwear for men and women, cooking appliances, prayer needs, eggs and other food to accompany rice. Without any delay, I went to the command post and asked for a quick delivery of supplies for them. While the post actually does not serve IDP camps, I was taking the liberty to do so as I also put Aceh Relief Fund money into purchasing supplies that the post had been delivering. By 2pm, a pick up truck full of supplies were delivered to my village folks shelter (sorry for not having photographed it).

Ok, back to 21 January:

This is Hari Raya or Eid Festival Day. Although we did not close our post, the activity was much less than on previous days. We are among the very few who stay open to deliver supplies if requested.

I started the day by joining the Eid prayer at 7:15am at a field close to Kampung Ateuk, where I stayed with Dian’s (my wife) aunt for the last two days.

Eid festival has never been this gloomy. You can feel the deep sadness on people’s faces. Not as many smiles or laughter as on previous Eids. Hundreds of thousands of Acehnese have to celebrate the holiday in IDP camps.

Usually, we would have many more people coming for Eid prayers. This year, many survivors have gone back to their original villages outside Banda Aceh. Seen in the picture are women in their “teuleukom”, all-white prayer apparels.

It is so comforting to find smiles, especially on young faces! Children after Eid prayers.

Then I went around and stopped by my wife’s folks in Kampung Ateuk, Banda Aceh. Of course, the conversations were about family members, missing and surviving ones. A lot of questions were asked about Dian and our three children whom I had to leave in Ithaca

At around 11am, I went to the command post to meet our dedicated volunteers. I thanked our volunteers who came from outside Banda Aceh for celebrating Eid in Aceh, far away from their loved ones.

Some of our volunteers celebrating Eid at our command post. They are my heroes and heroines!

In the afternoon, I spent time at my village folks’ camp outside Gedung Sosial. Some of them stayed in the camps as they have nowhere to visit during this “visiting-relatives day”.

Pak Abubakar, the famous “cendol” vendor, taking charge of organizing the IDP camp of my village folks of Blang Arafah, Al-Mukarramah neighborhood of Punge Jurong outside Social Hall of Banda Aceh. He lost all of his four children, leaving him only with his wife. But his spirit is of a real pioneer and community organizer.

Pak Abu and I agreed to schedule a village meeting on January 25th when we will discuss the condition of our village and the future. We agreed to get organized and hopefully rise from a fallen community to a stronger one in the future. Pak Abu will announce to all survivors of Al-Mukarramah, including the ones who do not stay at the camp (but regularly drop by to check for updates), that we will convene at the camp to start planning our steps for the future. I will be facilitating the meeting and trying to figure out how to connect my village to needed resources.

Four girls from my village. They lost their homes, family members and schools. Hopefully they will never let lose hope!

Two women in our IDP camp. The one with white head-cover is Pak Abu’s surviving wife. The kid is one of the children at the IDP whose mother (in red dress) has no better place to take him. A balloon is keeping him busy and happy, at least while the picture was being taken.

Two stoves and other supplies at Al-Mukarramah IDP camp, delivered by PCC after Saiful’s request. His request was fulfilled right away as PCC is also supported by the CNY-Aceh Relief Fund.

¬[01/20/05] [01/22/05]®