Editor’s Note: After spending a day in the city of Padang, Dan and Jeanne Jantzi, MCC representatives in Indonesia, traveled to the village of Guci (Goo-chi), where they continued to assess how MCC can help meet the short-term and long-term needs of earthquake survivors. The Jantzis are from Lowville, N.Y . Here are some of their reflections, in their own words, as they visited a school in Guci:
We first stopped at the local elementary school in the village of Guci where Mennonite Diakonial Service, MCC’s partner, will be working. About 100 of the enrolled 170 children had assembled in the school yard, even though their school had sustained serious damage and entire walls had crumbled, leaving the first-grade classroom exposed.
Their teachers, all of whom had lost their own homes in the earthquake, tried to provide some structure of normalcy for the children in the sweltering school yard. Ibu Zaiti, the school principal, told me that the teachers had been welcoming the children to the school yard ever since Monday (Oct.5), just five days after the powerful earthquake destroyed 95 percent of the homes in the village. All the teachers reported for duty with the exception of the first-grade teacher. Her mother had died on the Monday before the earthquake, and then when her home was totally destroyed two days later, she has not felt able to function again.
When Mennonite Diakonial Service arrived on Saturday, Oct. 3, they immediately began talking to volunteers about the importance of trauma healing work. Today, we saw Pak Adi, a local volunteer who teaches art in the university and who teaches art classes for many of these children, leading all 100 students in enthusiastic drumming exercises with each child clapping two coconut shell halves to make rhythm. Later, Pak Joko, from Mennonite Diakonial Service, led the children in an Indonesian version of “Hokey Pokey.”
When we passed other villages on the road to Guci, we met children begging for aid. In Guci, the children had other things to do. Pak Mayardi, a local leader, told us, “These children watched their houses and their entire neighborhoods fall down in front of them. They are afraid to go back inside their houses. They need these activities.”