Monday, December 11, 2006

Comfort and Aid (Day 1)

My parents asked me to go on an aid trip to Indonesia with them for a couple of days. I thought it seemed like a good idea, so I decided to go. The trip was to an Indonesian island near Singapore called Bintan. The island has become a bit of a tourist destination with a few resorts opening up there, but there's still a huge amount of poverty.... and filth.... and corruption.....

We went over to the island by ferry.

Here are Felicia, Jennifer and Miki. Jennifer and Miki are pretty young, but hopefully this trip will be beneficial to both them and the people they helped. I have NO idea why Miki was making that bizarre face...

After about an hour and a half on choppy water, we finally arrived.

However, what followed was another few hours of travel on buses along dingy backroads until we reached the village we were visiting. The village is populated by people native to the island who have been marginalised by the Indonesian government. They cannot own land and have limited employment opportunities. In this particular village, aside from fishing, the sole source of jobs for the community is a large charcoal factory (not owned by them of course). The work is brutal and the village reeks of the fumes.

I spent the next few hours bagging and distributing over half a ton of rice to distribute to the 80+ families in the village. We supplied them with this along with basics such as cooking oil, condensed milk, clothes, some basic drugs and toys and candy for the kids... so many little kids....

Once this was done, the entire village gathered at the village church for a small Christmas party with all the food and goods we had brought in addition to the basic supplies (the Christian faith of the villagers doesn't help their treatment by the government).

Some of the little kids were very cute!

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