“I had been struggling to feed my son, Mukram, since at least 2000. It all began when my husband, M. Nazar, was wounded in an incident during the war between GAM (Acehnese Freedom Movement) and Indonesia’s army. He was shot by two unknown motorcycle riders at dusk on his way home from work, not far away from our home.
“Even though he ran to get help, he could not withstand the 3 bullets that had penetrated his body. For two hours he tried to get to safety, but he finally died because the situation was so dangerous that no one dared take him to the hospital.
“I was totally speechless and did not know what to do. Even now, I have no more tears to shed.
“Later, I decided to leave our village of Lam Manyang, Aceh Besar, to look for a job in Medan. I left my son and trusted my sister-in-law, Samsiah, to take care of him,
“When the Tsunami struck, I was still in Medan, about a 25 hours’ drive from Banda Aceh. On that Sunday, December 26th 2004, my son was playing at the back of our house in the village in Aceh with his friends. Then because he was hungry, he asked my nephew, Fajri, the son of Samsiah, to accompany him to buy food. On their way to the nearby store, they saw a very high and huge black wave coming towards them. It was the first of the Tsunami waves. Only by God’s grace they were both saved.
“After the Tsunami, I was immediately called to return home to Aceh. I was in great fear to know what had happened to my family. I couldn’t explain my feelings at that time; but I felt a deep mourning mixed with happiness when I saw that my son, Mukram and my nephew, Fajri were saved. But I lost my dear sister-in-law, Fajri’s mother, Samsiah for good.
“There was nothing left at all after the Tsunami. No more family, and even the ruins of our house was swept away by the waves. Now only the 3 of us were left: Mukram, Fajri and I.
“We then stayed at a refugee camp for quite a long time. After several months we received a donation in the form of a tent so that we could live on our land. It was months later that we received a grant to rebuild our house. Now we have lived in our own house since September, 2006.
“After the Tsunami I wanted to regain a normal life for ourselves back here in Aceh. Therefore I was eager to look for job opportunities. In November 2006, I was offered the opportunity to join a training program to make handbags in Aceh’s traditional style.
“I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn a new skill. Now, I am working on the embroidery staff funded by Laga Designs International, Inc., so that I can support my family again. My son Mukram is now a 12-year-old boy. He is very clever in school and happy as well. I also have a new confidence that we will have a better future.”
The first alarm clock could only ring at 4am