Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pulau Nias

Selamat Bagi!
From 17-20 July 2006, I will be at Pulau Nias, Indonesia, off the coast of Northwestern Sumatra helping out with a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capacity training for local officials and the staff from Banda Restoration and Rehabilitation (BRR) in Nias. These are the people who essentially help to rebuild homes for the Niasan who lost their homes in the 2004 tsunami and the many subsequent earthquakes. In fact, there was just an earthquake last week.
It is to no surprise on my part when my mother called me yesterday with a worried tone in her voice asking me if I was alright because on the first day we arrived here in Nias, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 hit East Java, subsequently causing a tsunami. Of course there were some concern by some of our team that the tsunami would hit Nias which is nothing more than a small island.  However, I rested well, assured by my basic geographical knowledge that any tsunami from the Pacific side of Indonesia would take quite a bit of effort to reach the Indian Ocean where we are.
The island is really rather fantastic. I took several videos and hopefully will one day share with everybody. Maybe even upload on Youtube or something. It’s just beautiful here. Settlements line the road along the eastern coast of the island where we are. The main tourism of the area involves hardcore surfers. That’s how rugged and pure this place feels to me. I visited a local Christian Orphanage where our NGO liaison volunteers. It was quite the experience. Also we saw a US hospital ship pulled up near the shore and people were registering to get on board for treatment. I almost wish we could stay here longer.
Currently we are staying at a house maintained by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Surely if I don’t ever get to work for UN, at least I can say I’ve once in my life stayed in an UNDP accommodation. Yes, yes, I know it’s just cheap thrill.
Today we make the handing over ceremony of various work that we did with the remote sensing images and GIS datasets. I am also trying to learn as much Bahasa as I can. I knew I should have taken Bahasa last semester. Instead now I am just confusing my Thai, English, Mandarin, Spanish, Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia! *lol* The good part is that some knowledge of Bahasa Melayu is coming back to me. Very very slowly though. Thanks to the lesson from itik a while back ago, visits to Frasers, ordering food from Malay stalls and just watching tons of Malay TV when I was a kid is really paying off. Haha!
While I am writing this in our living room right now, I would be posting this online from the headquarters of BRR that comes equipped with free wireless!
Stay tuned for more!

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1 comment:

budak said...

Selamat siang, monyet!
-itik cantik-