Friday, March 07, 2008

Tsunami 2004 Remembered

I thought a few photos from Aceh would be appropriate for the last day of "Indonesia Week".

About 5 months after the devastating tsunami, I traveled there to take photos of children for the book, Letters From Aceh. The book contained letters written between children at JIS and children in Aceh. The letters in the book are incredible...they will bring tears to your eyes...all the proceeds from the book went to build a new school in Aceh which is open and running now.

The three days I spent in Aceh were probably the most emotional three days I have ever had. The destruction was unreal...difficult to fathom. However, the people were incredible. Despite losing virtually EVERYTHING in their lives including family members, I never once heard one person fact, we were greeted with big smiles, laughter and optimism. The Indonesian people are perhaps the most resilient people in the world today.

I remember talking with a little girl (whose photo is on the cover of the book) who had watched her mother, father and brother swept away by what she called the Big Black Monster. She was able to run to a tree and climb it when she saw the monster coming. She stayed in the tree for two days as she was afraid the monster would come back. When I asked her how she could keep smiling after witnessing such an event, she said, "Sir, life goes on...I will see them in heaven...I have to stay happy". She was only 10 years old.

This is one of my favorite photos I took while really illustrates what that little girl said...

Life Goes On...

This little girl and her brother lost their entire family...

No comments: