Few days ago I commented Renxkyoko (my blog buddy) post on her blog. And she asked me to tell a story about my experience living on Banda Aceh after enormous earthquake and Tsunami December 2004. (Same scale with latest Japan earthquake)

Well, too many stories to tell in a single blog post. And I actually wrote a novel about my experience living in Banda Aceh. The manuscript has been on a long and deep sleep on my computers right now. I never open it or read it anymore. (I’m still hoping to edit it sometime, divine hasn’t called me yet ^_^ #i-know-i-have-too-many-excuses-for-not-editing-my-too-many-neglected-manuscript)

I actually came to banda Aceh early in the 2006. So no, I didn’t experiencing walk on the street and met somebody’s hand under debris. (But my husband did-before we were married-, he is journalist and came on the second day after Tsunami Banda Aceh. And he had published book about it: Journalist on disaster. Btw, he also went to Japan on the second day after earthquake and just back home last night. Thank God, so worried about the nuke plant radiation)

So Tsunami had been passed a year and few months when I came, but the disaster still left Banda Aceh in wound. Thousand people still lived on temporary shelters. Some still lived in tents (Can you imagine a year living in a tents?). So many problem lies from sexual harassments to bad construction.

I was an assistant for coordinator architect on a small French based organization (AL) that worked on Tsunami reconstruction in Banda Aceh, not long, but has gave me meaningful experiences. We worked together with another organization and makesure the houses build by AL is in good quality and accessible to handicap people. (After Tsunami many people had lost theirs leg or hand after trapped on broken building)

Okay, I won’t talk about melancholic drama, many article has tackle that kind of stories. I just want to say that I’m very grateful I got to meet people, all kind of people, from angelic personalities to evil one. So sad seeing people who had to live their life alone after their family swallowed by the big wave of Tsunami. But apparently not all the victim made you sorry for what had happened to them, some are greedy and take others people right. Some family got five or six new houses because they cheated, meanwhile there were people that really in need didn’t get their right. Shame on.

I was also very grateful meeting people from all over the world, (well, all my bosses came from French) and they choose to live in Aceh for the sake of humanity. (Banda Aceh is 3 hours flight from Jakarta the capital city of Indonesia, and it’s kind of underdeveloped city when I came, at least it’s not as modern as any other big city in Indonesia. Even my hometown Banjarmasin is bigger than Banda Aceh)

To be honest experiencing Aceh was one of life experience that made me speechless. Too many colors, too many feelings, that’s why I release all my sense on a novel. I wish I could edit it, so maybe I could publish it someday. But even if it’s not, I’m glad I have written it just for my self. As a reminder, that life is precious.


Let’s live our life to the fullest, because we never know when nature takes that away from us!


7 thoughts on “Precious

  1. Ah. I can just imagine what it was like to see such destruction and misery. I’ve never experienced natural disasters, although my parents told me I did, but I was too young to know. It was a huge volcanic eruption, one of the biggest of the 20th century, that of Mt.Pinatubo’s, and a 7.8 earthquake. Both disasters happened in the early 90’s, I was newly born when earthquake happened.

  2. You are so right – life is so incredibly precious. Thanks for sharing this. And maybe someday you will be able to publish that book.

    Thanks for subbing to my blog, by the way 🙂

  3. Renxkyoko: Mt.Pinatubo is in Philiphines right? So you were born in Philiphines then move to states?
    Indonesia, Philiphine, Japan are part of Ring of Fire area, we live in a dangerous archipelago on earth.

  4. Thisisitalianfamily: Hey Rach! You’re welcome! Your blog are very interesting, i planned to comeback later to read more… 🙂 You know what my niece also married with Italian and she lived in Australia now. And my former bos was Italian. I love Elizabeth Gilbert talk about Italy on her Eat, Pray, Love book.. So I’m kinda have a things for anything Italian, beside pasta 🙂

  5. It is indeed within the Ring of Fire. My parents say there’s always an earthquake everyday in Manila, Philippines, but it’s undetectable. But mom says we can actually feel it. See, in our house there, there’s a hanging lamp over the dining table, and that lamp will sway if there’s even a teeny bit of earthquake, and that happens about 5 times a week.

  6. Renxkyoko: Oh God, yes! You know i was born in Kalimantan (Borneo) Island. (The savest Island in Indonesia; because they have no active volcano) I was never know how earthquake felt. Then i move to Java and then Sumatra Island. (Jogjakarta, Jakarta, Banda Aceh ) These places always shaking once in a while. I’m kinda used to it now. And educate myself what to do if big earthquake happen. (Our goverment still missed that… )

  7. Life is indeed precious! very precious. sometimes we hold anger or hatred or any negative feelings towards another person, and think those trivial things…really matter,but forget that in another part of the world disaster could have struck, and it can very well happen to us! Good luck with publishing your novel.

    When the Tsunami had come some years ago, my husband was in South India. He was lucky enough to fly off to a safer place that day from the city which was affected. When such disasters strike, it gets me thinking that these things are not in our control, but controlling our negative emotions, helping another person – these are in our control. Something to think about!

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