Friday, February 10, 2006

Meeting with the People

Village Meeting in Hiliamaeta along with staffs and the people

Heavy raining swept the bridge away

The only way was the beach. We were almost late for the meeting

Hiliganöwö Village Meeting

Lahusa Village Meeting

The affected people whose houses destroyed by the quake and tsunami

Sorake. We lived here and famous for its beauty and surfing

These days are the time to talk to the people. I mean it’s the time to have intensive village meetings. Last week, we started on Saturday to Monday to have village meetings. We started from Hiliamaetaniha Village in which we will build 20 houses there and then Hiliganöwö Village in which we will probably build the whole village. I’m still proposing it to the funding agency. So far, in this village we promised them to build 72 houses. The last day was in Kecamatan Lahusa comprising of three villages in which we will build 33 houses here.

Here what I learnt. First, though they are Nias people but the way and the customs to have the meetings were completely different. For the first and second places; in the villages of Hiliamaetaniha and Hiliganöwö, the meetings were started by what so called orahu. Orahu or the village meeting is kind of interesting. That’s the way they have meetings from generation to generation. Every speaker mentioned the points of his talking and then someone who was in charged saying aloud “eeee…. “or “yaiahö…” (Meaning yes) with long voice. It’s unique and really very traditional way if you would like to say so. It has the sense of artistic. Then of course, when I had presentations I didn’t have that kind of way. I mean nobody answered me “eeee…. “or “yaiahö…” every points I mentioned. The other place like Kecamatan Lahusa, the meeting was just like usual meeting.

The point here was that the way to have meeting in the South (Teluk Dalam) and Lahusa was completely different. Second thing what I found was that the South people was more spontaneous and alive than the villagers in Lahusa. There was lot questions which were informative and even questioning our decisions of the number of the houses will be built. The meetings were very dynamic. And yes indeed, I was so lucky that I have the frame of “peaceful conflict (problems) resolution. I mean that though there are many debate arising, I kept encouraging them to have what so called the unity as one village. The meaning of being as “one village” was very substantive for their way of life.

The other fact I found was that the gap number of houses we will build and the actual damages houses. I mean we will build less than the number of the houses completely damaged. I can’t blame my team for the early assessment of course as my team assessed the village with blur guidelines. It’s not easy to make the different measurement between total damaged and heavily damaged. Yes, the total damaged meant that the houses totally destroyed and fall down. But then the fact showed that most of the houses even if they don’t fall yet but they can’t be used anymore due to the cracks and closed to fall. Some of the villagers then tore it down.

The way of the head of the villagers convinced the villagers to accept what we plan really encouraged me to find other resources to help them. I’m thinking of it. Perhaps this month, I have the answer for that.

After the meetings, then we had team meeting at office. We designed our next plan and things dealing with the housing reconstruction such as materials survey, personnel job descriptions, land survey and things.

Today, all the team headed to the field and I departed to Medan for having meeting with my treasurer to complete the report and budget request. Besides, I have to buy the GPS Map for the mapping. And I have to talk to Ida as well. I’m thinking of recruiting her to be my assistant. I need an assistant and I think she is capable for that. So apart of my work; such as report, attending coordination meeting, other administrative things, she will handle it. I will talk to her tomorrow. I will talk to Eddy as well. I’m not pretty sure how to involve Eddy on our works but I think I’ll figure it out.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Housing Project Will Be Started Soon

We’ve just had meeting with my engineering and staffs dealing with the new plan for the housing reconstruction. Well actually, it’s by accident that I made a quick decision to just start the housing reconstruction plan.

It came to happen when we went to Teluk Dalam yesterday, I stopped by at BRR (Indonesian Agencies for Recovery and Reconstruction Board) for sending the pictures of the school to TdH using their hot spot access. The internet access is free by the way and it’s specially set up for NGOs and other humanitarian agencies.

But then I found the head village of Hiliamaetaniha and two guys who introduced themselves from Hiliganöwö talking to BRR staffs about the lateness of LPAM, my NGO, to build the houses and they thought that we don’t keep our promise to build the houses. I was precisely there and spontaneously I just involved in their meeting.

Well, I was little bit upset as they didn’t talk to me first and just directly went to BRR and reported that way. But yes, I can understand their feeling as well. Other houses were just started to be build while we who promised them previously can’t start yet. Then of course I explain what’s going on with our plan. First, we are very busy for completing the reconstruction of the 5 schools we are handling now. Secondly, we agreed that we are lack of communication especially with the head of the village of Hiliamaetaniha as I was away for a while (I was in Honolulu). Except for Hiliganöwö, I keep communicating with the head of the village. So with Hiliganöwö actually no problem of the lateness at all and they can understand what we are still busy for our school program. But then as the follow up of the meeting we agreed that we need to set up a meeting along with the BRR, the head of the village and the affected people whose house will be built.

This current meeting has just decided the schedule for the village meetings; on Saturday 4 p.m in the village of Hiliamaetaniha, on Sunday at 5 p.m in the village of Hiliganowo and on Monday in the Sub District of Lahusa gathering three villages of Bawölato, Bawöfarono and Bawöotalua.

We have figured out the implementing strategy as well; re-scheduling, mapping, and deciding the base camp and warehouses and things like that. I need to talk very intense about the site plan and the budget with my engineering tomorrow. Anyway, we are still finding solution about the handy talky.

The sea that always brings peace
A Family Depends their income from collecting the stones

One of the areas that threatened by the activity
Reconstruction and the Threat of the Environment

At the moment there are massive reconstructions are being done. Well, it’s a positive sign for helping the people as a part of disaster recovery. Somehow, there is a sacrifice for that. Environment. For the wood, this problem has been solved by importing the wood outside of this island so there is no need to cut the huge number of trees. But for sand and stones are dilemma. As a huge amount of sand from the river and beach and stones as well, people take it from the rivers without any consideration of threatens the environment itself. For the people, there is no any choice, I mean, the easiest way to get the money at the moment is by doing that and reconstruction works need that as well. It’s a dilemma.