Thursday, May 10, 2007

An Urban Legend for Mother's Day

Okay, this story totally reminds me of one night sitting around the dinner table with my three boys (there was no Sabrina at the moment to try and balance out the testosterone running WILD through my home) and my mother. Rob was in the Philippines, I came home to help get my mom through the holiday season the year my Dad passed away, and we had invited my mom over to have dinner with us.

It's the end of dinner, the baby is starting to crawl on the table, Zach and Jared are farting and burping and laughing like there is no tomorrow. I look at my mom and state, "It will take me 18 years to train them so some other unsuspecting woman will take them out of my home, won't it?"

This came from Lynda, one of my American friends here in Aceh,.. I have no idea if this is true or not, but HAPPY EARLY MOTHER'S DAY!!

So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom.

Well, we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES IT. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it.

So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood.

We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying mychapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right--their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Yay for CRS!

Aceh park, a symbol of recovery, renewal and healing

2 May: Relief Web by Kai T. Hill and Jullya Vigneshvara

On any given afternoon at the Taman Sari Park in downtown Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the approach of sunset bears little on the tireless energy of children playing. High-pitched laughter — of children thumping to the ground from jungle gyms and chasing each other through the grass — can be heard from blocks away. The sound lasts into the night as entire families seize the moment to relax, strike up conversations and enjoy reconnections with old friends. This 300-meter stretch of park, which reopened in March with the help of CRS, is not just a recreational outlet. It’s a symbol of rejuvenation and hope.

"It’s a public space that symbolizes recovery, renewal and healing in the entire community, and stands as CRS' commitment to rebuilding the many aspects of community in the overall post-tsunami reconstruction process," says Scott Campbell, CRS' director of operations in Aceh. "It is our hope that Taman Sari will enable the people of Aceh to continue to improve their lives, free themselves from the nightmare of the tsunami and realize their full human potential."

Many here share the common bond of having lost loved ones, their homes and all their possessions to the 2004 tsunami, which hit this area of Indonesia the hardest. This park and surrounding green space had become a desolate, muddy wasteland after the enormous tidal wave struck the island. But that has been put more easily to the past now as the park, the only one in Banda Aceh, bustles with life. A Place for Community

"Every day this park is full with people," says Zubir, a park security guard, who maintains an easy smile as he patrols the area, often stopping to greet and help visitors. "Usually in the late afternoon, after parents come back from work, they take their children here to play while they're relaxing," Zubir continues.

His daughters, a toddler and 5-year-old, also come to the park and are visibly proud seeing their father in uniformed patrol. Novi, a 25-year-old hospital worker, brings her daughter Fika, 3, to the park on her days off. Keeping a steady watch on their children, Novi and other women engage in topics on children's health, along with other light talk.

"It's good to meet lots of new people," she says. "In my opinion, with the conflicts and tsunami that devastated Aceh, we need to release the burden and start fresh, and one of the means is by socialization with people."

Through its cash-for-work program, CRS began cleaning up the park in the early days and months following the tsunami. "It was a grim, difficult and sad task, associated with death and destruction," recalls Scott.

Rebuilding Neighborhoods

Now more than two years after the disaster, the agency continues its commitment to rebuilding homes, hospitals, schools and marketplace facilities. The park is also a milestone for the agency's plan to help rebuild neighbourhoods — something that would help residents, who suffered the trauma of sudden, tremendous loss, regain a sense of community and normalcy.

"We are really grateful [for] Taman Sari being rebuilt by CRS," commented Dr. H.T. Saifuddin, municipal secretary for Banda Aceh. "People not only need a house but also a place to have recreation."

The park's inauguration ceremony in March 2007 included Acehnese traditional welcoming dances, a moment of silence for tsunami victims, a dedication by CRS and performances by kindergarten students from a nearby school. In addition to an expansive playground, the park consists of a manicured garden with a fishpond, a parking lot, and a multipurpose building that houses a gallery, restroom, library, meeting room, prayer room and kitchen.

Our Work in Indonesia

CRS began working in Indonesia in 1957, helping rural communities alleviate suffering, eradicate poverty and become self-reliant. Initially, CRS used food aid to address food insecurity in certain parts of Indonesia through food-for-work, health and nutrition, and income-generating programs. In response to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, CRS opened an office in Aceh to meet communities' needs for shelter, infrastructure, health, water and sanitation.

News from the Region

Tired of the political race in the U.S? Don't want to read about Paris Hilton only gets to eat chicken in prison? Don't care if Doolittle wins Idol? Need some different news to sip your morning coffee to? Look no further,...

A poor family were poisoning after eating instant noodle

Sigli - Muhammad (3) and his mother, Nurlaili (40), villagers of Kulee, Sub-district of Batee, Pidie were poisoning after eating instant noodle from World Food Program (WFP). According to a resident, on Fri (28/4) night, Nurlaili cooked instant noodle received from WFP for her family. After cooking, Nurlaili and her youngest child, Muhammad ate that food and a few minutes afterward, they got stomachache, queasy, and threw up. Head of community health center (Puskesmas) in Batee Sub-district, Dr Nazaruddin, said that Muhammad and Nurlali was not poisoning due to instant noodle, but they got dyspastria (stomachache) plus dysentery.

Aceh is a risk area of bird flu virus Banda Aceh

Head of Health Agency in Aceh, dr T Anjar Asmara said that Aceh is a risk area of bird flu virus. "The threats might come anytime particularly following the death of seven residents of North Sumatera due to bird flu virus. Furthermore, Anjar said that although the positive avian flu cases have not yet occurred in Aceh, but within the last two years, as many as 21 cases of suspect bird flu virus to human had occurred in three districts in Aceh: 19 suspects in Aceh Utara, one in Bireuen and two suspects' bird flu cases occurred in Banda Aceh. So far, in Aceh, bird flu virus have been found to poultry in 10 districts such as 5 cases in Banda Aceh, 3 cases in Aceh Pidie, 2 cases in Bireuen, four cases in Aceh Utara, 4 cases in Aceh Timur, 2 cases in Aceh Tamiang, 2 cases in Aceh Tenggara, 12 cases in Aceh Selatan, and one cases in Aceh Besar and Lhokseumawe.

Two years was parted, Nazar found his family back Lhokseumawe

M Nazar (10), a boy from Alue Krueng, sub-district of Teunom, Aceh Jaya that was parted from his family due to tsunami tragedy two years ago, finally found his elder brother and elder sister at Paloh Meunasah Meria, Lhokseumawe on Wed (2/5). According to Nazar, when tsunami hit Aceh, he, his parents and his younger brother were in Calang visiting his uncle. His parents and his younger brother passed away in that tragedy. "After tsunami, I lived with my grandmother in Teunom and in April 2005, Ramly, a TNI officer in Koramil Teunom brought me to Jakarta. Due to I did not like to stay in Jakarta, I was determined to go back to Aceh, but I only could reach Medan," said Nazar. Nazar was founded in Medan by Said Almuddin while he was selling cigarettes a few weeks ago. Due to Said was very apprehensive to Nazar, Said asked Nazar to stay in Said's house and then Said took initiative to return this poor boy to his family in Lhokseumawe. According to Said, during his stay in Said's house, his attitude was very nice. "Every night he recited Holy Quran. Even though it's hard to return Nazar to his family, I should do it as he deserves to get back his family," said Said.

A group of tigers threaten Kluet Tengah residents

Waspada Tapaktuan - At least three tigers are wandering at four villages in Kluet Tengah sub-district, Aceh Selatan not only in the night but also during the day and although they had not yet swallowed human beings, but at least 18 residents' goats have been eaten by them. Villagers of Simpang Tiga, Mersak, Kampung Padang and Jambo Papan urged the the Aceh Selatan government to deploy tiger tamers to their villages to calm down those tigers before they attack villagers.

Thousands residents commemorated the Tragedy of Simpang KKA Lhokseumawe

Thousands residents on Wed (3/5) commemorated the Tragedy of Simpang KKA where 46 people were killed after being shot by TNI Detasemen Rudal on 3 May 1999. In this commemoration, hundreds of residents wrote their signatures on a white long cloth as the sign of their supports to solve the human rights violation in Aceh peacefully. The event coordinator, Tgk Junaidi said that this commemoration is not aimed to provoke the secure situation in Aceh, but only to commemorate the history of Simpang KKA tragedy. Meanwhile, a representative of the victims, Mustafa said that even though the peace in Aceh has reached for three years, victims of Simpang KKA incident are the forgotten people. "We urge the authorities to pay attention to the victims of Simpang KKA incident," said Mustafa. Eight PNS ex-GAM members and victims of conflict are reactivated Bireuen - As many as eight ex GAM members and victims of conflict that have been deactivated as Government Employees (PNS) in Bireuen, are reactivated as Government Employees following Bireuen Regent, Mustafa Abubakar has approved their reactivation.
WH held a dressing raid
Harian Aceh Meulaboh - A joint team of sharia police (WH), police, and military police in Aceh Barat on Wed (2/5) evening held a dressing raid at Simpang Kisaran, Meulaboh, Aceh Barat. During the raid, many women were caught due to they did not wear jilbab (veil) and wearing pressed tight dress. Even, a girl cried because she was very afraid when WH interrogated her. In that raid, a number of NGO workers that came from oversea and from outside of Aceh who passed that area, were also caught by WH as they were not dressing in Islamic way, however, after WH gave them some advices, they were released. "During the raid, we caught 65 women who did not wear Jilbab and dressing tightly. Some of them were brought to Sharia Islam office to get some advices and to sign the declaration letter that they won't repeat their same mistake," said Zainuddin, public relation of Sharia Islam office in Aceh Barat.

Monday, May 07, 2007

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Jungle, But You Can Never Take the Jungle Out of the Girl

Oi vey! It was a bit difficult to share that last post with people; I don't tend to talk about my childhood toooo much,.. I expect I'll bore everyone to death when I hit the nursing home.

Lest anyone think I'm some sort of super human (I'm definitely not), let me tell you of a little conversation I had with my dear friend 'Sonja' one day. She asked me all sorts of questions about growing up and the decisions I've made as an adult and at the end of it stated, "No wonder you're such a freak."

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming: