Dienstag, 24. November 2009

emergency education in Sungai Batang and Malalak, West Sumatra

There would be so much to write about, but finding time and words for it, is kind of difficult.

From the 13th till the 22nd a group of 11 volunteers from the organisation Friends of Waldorf Education were working with children which were effected by the earthquake which happened end of September.
In the first Camp there were around 700 people living on a soccer pitch in tents sponsored by Rotary International, only 95 tents fit on the land so that sometimes two families had to share one tent. Imagine 5 to 13 people sharing a tent of 4 square meters. Anyway the children were comparatively healthy compared to the ones in Gaza we met in July.

In the second Camp in Malalak is the situation much more difficult due to the landscape. The villages lays on top of a mountain, main parts of the road got destroyed either by the earthquake or by the following landslides. Out of the 808 houses in the village 566 are damaged or destroyed, 28 are not seen any more - covered by soil and rocks. 62 people got killed whereas 33 are still missing - oh no 32 because we found one dead body. Luckily we didn't see it as a whole, because after 6 weeks its only a black corpse any more with a horrible smell. Interestingly enough that the area wasn't searched with heavy machines, I don't understand and know why. Now people aren't looking any more for the missing bodies because of there strong Islamic believes, they said the dead ones are buried, so why to disturb them any more. But can you imagine walking over an area were you are sure that dead bodies are laying below you?

In that area work was much more difficult, children showed symptoms of traumatic experience. In the school we worked, 12 children are dead. And keep in mind, that only three years back a earthquake happened at the same spot, not as strong as the last one, but still. People therefore just finished rebuilding and settling back to normal live and than it happened again. People losing faith in the stability of the earth, there basic stronghold also on a symbolic level gets disturbed or destroyed. So of course children in school can't concentrate any more, aren't that motivated, opposing the teachers, getting aggressive, wake up at night because of nightmares and so on ... so we could set a starting point for children to strengthen their self healing abilities. Lets hope it is sustainable and helps the children to overcome their traumatic experience and integrated it into their live.