terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Meulaboh, Part 2


Day 1 Actual
After being made to wait for several hours before we actually came ashore, the first thing that struck us was the smell: It was a curious mix of dust, mud, burnt timber, raw sewage and of course, decomposition.

The last wafted up our noses whenever a weak breeze would spring up. It made my eyes water; for more reasons than one.

The land, when seen up close, was more battered than it had appeared the previous night. Up close, we could see the piles of debris gathered throughout the coast. Fallen pillars with their steel mesh hearts, all mangled beyond reuse. From time to time, we would chance upon household items, a child's toy, someone's shoe, all manner of personal artefacts left to dry in the sun. Here, a stall once stood, packets of tidbits now scattered on the sun-blistered ground. There, was once a hospital; now only the twisted remains of once-sophisticated and expensive medial equipment are left.

Meulaboh Boy #1
Originally uploaded by Terz.

A boy rides up the road towards us. I snap a few quick shots of him. He stops, uncertain. I wave at him, reassuring him that the large boxy thing in my hand isn't a weapon. He approaches our group wearily, dead eyes scanning the area. For something familiar, perhaps. He doesn't respond to my smile - just stares out at the sea. From time to time, he glances over at the unloading of pallet after pallet of humanitarian aid from the FCU (Fast Craft, Utility). His face registers neither joy nor relief.

Sham asks after him. He doesn't say much, except to reveal that his entire family had been claimed by the waves. He's alone now. Living off the generosity of the world which may soon forget and move on.

Meulaboh Boy #2
Originally uploaded by Terz.

He rides away after a while. We do not get his name.

(To be continued)



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