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2 April

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years ago

Sunday 2 April


Diving inArabella Churchill


Wake up early and catch up a bit with this diary


Our show today is an afternoon one again (near Sabang, where we are going to stay the night before catching the ferry back to Banda Aceh tomorrow morning) so we take the opportunity to go diving in the morning.


There are very strong currents, and it is very exciting and rather frightening - we were literally swept along, and at times had to swim very hard - but it was absolutely wonderful - again the visibility wasn't great, but there were just so many fish, corals and wonderful things to see.


Driving out


Mr. Fir came at 2.30 to collect us for the 4.00 show in Kreung Raya near Sabang. A beautiful drive, over mountains and through forests on the way to Sabang - which we couldn't see on the journey here as it was dark. In one part of the journey there are monkeys in forested areas on either side of the road - we got to see a few of them, but they didn't really want to come out and play - despite our having prepared ourselves with lots of bananas!


Too many badges


When we arrive at Kreung Raya, no one seemed to know that we were coming, so Mr. Fir toddles off to find the head man. We decide to do some badge making, and, for lack of a table, we do it on the boot of Mr. Wir's car. It is chaos! We had prepared about 150 badge bits, and there are only about 90 children, so we should have been fine - but the badge bits run out really soon. Some children have made several badges, and many of the adults have insisted on making a badge, and Mr. Fir isn't really up to saying "No, children only!" to them. Also they start cutting their own badge centres out of any paper they can find anywhere, so in the end about 250 badges were probably made - not good really, as we only have 2.000 for the whole month - still, despite being chaotic, the badge-making was very much enjoyed and the children were really thrilled with their finished badges.


Saril of Muslim Aid turns up in a white truck loaded down with children from other camps. Hags does a great show, on the road, just in front of the tiny beach, for about 90 children and 90 adults.


A great show, and more to come


Fadlulah Wilmot of Muslim Aid telephones and says he hears it has all gone very well. He says Muslim Aid can find more work for us to do in Banda Aceh - hurray! He is sending a car to meet us from the ferry tomorrow, to take us back to our hotel, and on to see Save the Children, and then on to Muslim Aid to see Muchtar to tighten up arrangements for the sessions they are setting up for us.


Transports of joy? Not quite.


Fadlulah is paying for this Monday transport, bless him - this is great, as getting to and from venues is costing a great deal more than we had expected. I'm really quite worried about transport costs, generally - it looks as though Mr. Fir is expecting to be paid 500,000 rupiahs per day, which is a lot of money (approximately £35 per day, though they have not by any means been full days, which seems to be a lot considering the short hours and the discomfort of the vehicle! Mind you, Mr. Fir was been tremendously kind and helpful). I had not included such high transport costs into the budget - I need to do some totting up of figures and work out what we can afford. Maybe agencies we are doing shows and workshops for could contribute towards CWI's internal transport costs at least? We will see.


Not the Ritz, but ...


Mr. Fir drives us to a hotel, clean (despite one enormous cockroach in the mandi) and, thank goodness, air conditioning - though it takes a while for us to be able to get it to work. There is a fitted bottom sheet on the bed, but no top sheet. I try to get one, and they offer me a huge, woolly blanket! They don't seem to have top sheets, the way we do (and which is perfect for here as you can be just lightly covered without too much heat, but protected from the mosquitoes). They definitely don't have a top sheet, so we settle for a thinnish eiderdown - which actually, with the very efficient air con, is just about right in the end.


We take Mr. Fir out to dinner, which his nice 12-year old son joins us for. Delicious flour fried chicken (like Kentucky fried chicken, but much better) and a lovely green vegetable called Kang Kun (a sort of Chinese spinach - really good!)


Mr. Fir and the Tsunami


Mr. Fir told us his experiences of the tsunami - here on Pulua Weh the waves were not nearly so high as at Banda Aceh (possibly because the water by the shore of this island is deep - whereas the water is shallow in front of Banda Aceh, which means that when the waves struck the low-lying ground of Banda Aceh the waves were very high and were able to sweep in causing such massive damage). Here on Pulua Weh, only 12 people actually died, though there was immense damage to housing.


The Tsunami struck on the morning of Boxing Day 2004, which was a Sunday (as in Thailand and Sri Lanka, we realised how fortunate it was that it was on a Sunday and that there was no school that day - otherwise many,many more children would have died and also many more teachers, which could have affected the education system for years). All the electricity obviously broke down immediately, and it wasn't until the following Wednesday, 3 days after the tsunami, that people here on the island of Pulua Weh, only a one hour boat journey from Banda Aceh, were able to see the television and realise how many deaths had taken place so near them. Everyone had friends and family on the mainland, and many, like our lovely driver, rushed straight over to Banda Aceh to try to find them. We have heard so many sad stories - the scale of the disaster here is really almost incomprehensible.


Early bed. Mr. Fir is coming to collect us at 7.30 am to take us to the ferry.








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