On site: MCC reps bid farewell, return home to request long-term aid
Dan and Jeanne Jantzi
October 8, 2009
October 8, 2009
Editor’s Note: Dan and Jeanne Jantzi, MCC representatives in Indonesia, spent Oct. 6-8 in Guci and Padang, assessing how MCC can meet the short-term and long-term needs of earthquake victims there. The Jantzis are from Lowville, N.Y . Here are some of their reflections, in their own words, at the end of their visit:
It’s been a tough few days. Seeing collapsed house after collapsed house eats away at you. I feel a heaviness. As we talk with people who have experienced such loss, part of the weight of their cares transfers to us. That’s a good thing. Listening to the stories is a way we can share each other’s burdens. The opportunity to spend time with people in some of their darkest times means a lot to us.
We are thankful that we have been in Indonesia long enough to speak the language well, to be able to truly listen to people’s stories and to work together with others in planning a response. We feel very privileged to be part of the bridge between MCC’s constituents around the world and the people of West Sumatra who have experienced this disaster.
The earthquake may be in the news for only a short time, but the work of recovery will continue for many months, long after the media has forgotten. It means a lot to know some of the names and some of the stories of people who will experience caring in the name of Christ.
- Mama Angel, a nurse who feels unsafe as she works each day on the unstable third floor of an earthquake-damaged hospital
- Pak Mesiduhu, a pastor who fills his days visiting and comforting church members, even as his own home is threatened by a leaning three-story building
- Pak Mayadi, a village leader in Guci who works for peace by carefully and justly dividing humanitarian assistance to community members.
- Ibu Zeiti, the elementary principal in Guci who keeps the school yard open for the children so they have a daily structure that will help them return to normal
- Pak Joko, a Javanese Mennonite Diakonial Service volunteer who is working long hours helping communities respond to the disaster in ways that empower and reduce the potential for conflict.
- Ibu Lina, whose home was destroyed and who weeps and isn’t sure how to return to normal.
- Pak Adi, whose own home was destroyed in the quake became a Mennonite Diakonial Service volunteer, and who leads activities for the elementary children of Guci who have lost school, homes, and a sense of safety.
We will not forget them.