“I have 5 children, 2 boys and 3 girls. We were living in Langsa at the time, about a 9-hour drive from Aceh, with my four children. My oldest daughter was attending high school in Banda Aceh as a senior. When the Tsunami hit, my husband went to look for her. We were devastated to find out that she had died and her dead, naked body had drifted in the water for hundreds of kilometers.
“After the Tsunami, my husband decided to move to Banda Aceh to work as a Pedi-cab driver because he heard that there were many foreigners there who didn’t mind paying good money to ride on a Pedi-cab. I moved to Banda Aceh a month after my husband did and I worked in a Muslim boarding school by washing clothes for the students there. It was easier for my family to live there since all schools in Banda Aceh didn’t require their students to pay for the school fee for 2 years.
“It has been 4 years since the Tsunami, and now we have to again pay for the school fee, the boarding house fee and the books. But we thank God that my second daughter is working and is now independent and my son, my third child, has graduated from school and is now independent as well. So, now there are only my daughter, my fourth child, who is still in junior high school and my youngest son who is 4 years old, that I still have to take care of. My husband’s Pedi-cab has since broken down so now he makes less money in general labor. I didn’t want to dwell in my sadness for a long time so I’m glad that now I work for Laga handbags and I can pay for my daughter’s school fee, take care of my youngest son, and help out my husband.
“Even though the workshop is far from my house (1-hour drive) they usually let me take my embroidery work home and bring it back to the workshop every 2 weeks. My hope is that, as long as my eyes still can see and I’m still strong enough to work, I want to keep working in Laga handbags.”
–written in 2008 by Kamarni, one of the many tsunami survivors being helped by Laga Handbags