“I was very happy on that morning because that day was a holiday and I was planning to make a cake with my aunt. But then I was surprised when I felt the ground started shaking harder and harder. My father and my brother took me inside the house and they looked frighten and confused about what would happen?

“During that time, our village was not a safe area. There were political fights often happening in our village.”

“We were panicked when we suddenly heard gun shots 3 times, so we ran and gathered with other families.

“The earthquake was still happening and not long after, we saw people were running and shouting ‘The water is coming!’ The ocean was only 3 km away from my village, so we all ran to the nearest hill.

“I was lucky because I could get on the truck together with my family and some other people from my village. About 300 meters after we passed the bridge, I saw some people and children running but they could not make it to the bridge and the water swept them away. Oh God, please help them…

“We stayed on the hill for three nights and had to be careful not to meet with the rebels who usually brought guns. Coconut was our food for two days during that time, and then on the third day there were people who brought us some bread.

“We decided to go home to our village and then take refuge in another safe place far away from the ocean and the fighting. My family left home together for 5 months when I heard rumors that there were many dead bodies that were not buried properly and that there would be an onset of disease because of those dead bodies.

“But I decided that I had to go home; I could not just stay in other people’s house forever. I had to start a new life and had a new spirit to live, so that my family could do the same, especially my father who had lost his brother and his nephew because of the tsunami.

“One year later, I got a job working in the Laga bag workshop. I did not have any experience in sewing at that time, so I just helped in packaging the bags and working with the inventory while I learned how to sew the bags.

“While working in the Laga workshop, I felt happy because I got new experiences, and I did not have to depend on my parents anymore. And with a little bit of extra money, I could help my family.

“Our village has been rebuilt now, and since the Aceh peace treaty was made, we could go back to our village and live safely there. Our hope in the future is that Aceh will stay safe, peaceful and improving.”


Click here to visit our website and view the amazing Laga handbags made by Vina and other tsunami survivors.




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