Assessment of the activities of Catherine Fischer and Faomasi-Bersama during 2007
1 . Condition of the site
• The Office of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the Indonesian government (B.R.R.) has been established since mid July in Teluk Dalam. Mr Siduhu who is in charge there comes from Nias, which matters for the population concerned. It is also very good news for Faomasi-Bersama because, as an association, we can make use of internet connections when they are functioning and participate in meetings to coordinate our actions with other NGOs.
• The UN at Gunung Sitoli : three new women have arrived, all from Nias. Two of them have been given specific responsibility for the South of the island and organise coordination meetings with the B.R.R.
• The refugees of the camp of Teluk Dalam :
Since October 2006 the last occupants of the Negeri1 camp under canvas have been moved to an isolated site two kilometres away from Teluk Dalam, at Hiliana’a. Their • situation in this new site is a matter for great concern as it is somewhat unhealthy marshland ; there is no water and only intermittently electricity. They are accommodated in temporary homes with no kitchen or toilet. Those with the means to do so have enlarged their premises, building a kitchen area and bathroom on piles. Some have already transported the temporary house to another site. Access to the new camp by the path depends on rainfall ...at the end of August the government had started to lay stones over the path in order to render it more roadworthy. To go shopping people need to go on foot and, as they have no means of transport, nothing is simple.
• Life at Teluk Dalam :
The little town is slowly regaining its dynamism, many shops have opened again and it’s no longer necessary to go to Gunung Sitoli to shop ...the roads have still not been remade, the dust is suffocating when there is no rain and mud is sprayed around as soon as rain falls ...but the economy is gradually picking up despite a noticeable rise in prices. Catherine met those in charge of the Stella Maris hospital and they are agreed to work with us and to look after the young people whom we are educating and of those whom we direct to them. In case of need we can contact them from France.
2 • Construction of canoes
Thanks to the donation from Franche Comté Solidaire and the presentation of our dossier by Solidarity Indonesia we were able to construct 35 fishing canoes this summer for 70 fishermen from our lists. This concerns the Sorake and Fohili regions. Purba Bu’ulölö, the new president of Faomasi-Bersama on site, had set up the shipbuilding yard well and construction was able to start as arranged on Monday 16th July at 7a.m. (Catherine having arrived the day before at 19h00) We organised the first meeting with fishermen and village chiefs on Wednesday 18th. This meeting was held at Hilizihönö and concerned fishermen of the Fohili region. The same procedure took place in Sorake for the fishermen of Botohili Tano. The aim of these meetings was to clarify the conditions for allocating the canoes and the follow-up procedure. With Purba’s help we drew up a certificate which each fisherman had to sign, giving details of the type of canoe they owned before the tsunami (and whether or not it had an engine) so that it could be replaced. Catherine photographed each of the fishermen, made videos during the meetings and during construction in the shipbuilding yard to provide archives documenting these events. We also wrote a trilingual contract (in Nias, Indonesian and French) with the names of the two fishermen who operate the same canoe and outlining the conditions for the kind of upkeep we would wish for so that these canoes can have a long lifespan.
The seven craftsmen chosen by Purba were working in a hangar made in Sorake. Unfortunately at the end of a week three of them left us because they had found higher wages working for another association. The remaining four worked in double quick time in order to complete the canoes before the end of August.
On the 21st August 26 canoes were transported by lorry to the beach of Fohili and handed over to the 52 fishermen concerned who then signed the contracts. These contracts were also signed by the village chief.
On 23rd August the canoes were handed out to the fishermen of Sorake. Catherine encountered terrific problems with some of these fishermen.
3 • Back to school
Reminder : There are three types of educational help offered by Faomasi :
• Sponsorships (of Elvina, Firman, Cindy Ketrin, Kiki and Suterlina since October) : each person who sponsors a child guarantees to take charge of the expenses created by their studies until the end of the Lycée (SMA) which then allows the young person concerned to become a teacher or to work in administration. Where necessary their medical expenses are also covered. • The young people of the village of Hilisalawa : these were the first young people helped by Faomasi from the outset (September 2005), the association promised to allow them to complete their secondary education. • Other young people (their number depends on our resources) : born into very poor, often one parent families, they live in the refugee camp. We guarantee their education for a year. Each summer we review our assistance in relation to our finances and to the family’s situation. To draw up a list of young people who need our help we have been working from the start with Sokhita Duha, President of the Suka Damai association (an association for displaced persons following the catastrophes of March 2005).
In each case we limit our assistance to one child per family.
The young people with sponsors :
ELVINA, sponsored by Dominique : this young woman of 18 with one leg amputated has been educated thanks to us since July 2006. Dominique has guaranteed to pay for her studies until the end of university. She now has an artificial leg thanks to Derek, a New Zealand doctor whom I met last year and whose help I asked to find a prosthesis for her. I spent a great deal of time with her, taking her to the restaurant to celebrate her good news (her prosthesis and the sponsorship), every Sunday we went together to make music with the people of the refugee camp and we had long discussions about projects that we could set up together for Faomasi. She is a fine young woman, very talented in her studies, sensitive and cheerful now that her situation is improving and that she is sure of being able to complete her studies.
FIRMAN has been sponsored by Céline and Léo for 2 years : he is a very nice young boy of 13 who lives with his mother and two sisters in a poor shack in the heart of the market of Teluk Dalam. He goes to school in the morning and works in the afternoon in little shops of the market to help his mother who is alone with three children.
CINDY KETRIN has been sponsored for two years by Lucette : Cindy’s mother (alone with another two children to look after) has been the recipient of a house constructed by the Red Cross three miles from Teluk Dalam. She’s lived there since the Spring. Cindy is beginning to relax with me. I took her by scooter to see photos of Lucette and to read a letter at the B.R.R. She was overawed but was willing to draft a message for her godmother which we sent on to her immediately.
KIKI is now sponsored by Corinne and her family. I know Kiki well whom I met two years ago and who was one of the stars of the DVD “The forgotten People of the Tsunami”. She is a ray of sunshine who sings and dances when she is happy and who loves making jokes. She is great pals with Cindy whom she is helping to conquer her shyness. We spent good times together.
SUTERLINA has been sponsored since September 2007, she is tubercular. We cover the payment of expenses for her treatment and her medical follow up. I took her to the Stella Maris hospital in Teluk Dalam for a report on her health which gives cause for great concern. She suffers from malnutrition and is exhausted by the journeys she needs to make each day (7 kms each way) to attend College. Thanks to her godmother we were able to buy her a bicycle.
• The three young people from the village of Hilisalawa :
ROBERTUS, FAMATÖRÖ, SUCI HATI I met all three of them, we bought uniforms together, equipment for school and paid for their education until my next visit in 2008. We also paid Suci Hati’s examination expenses. She will finish at the Lycée in June 2008.
• The young people of the camp at Hilana’a
Sokhita was expecting me with a list of 40 names but during the course of the year we had only collected enough funds to educate 17 young people at different educational levels. We therefore redrafted the lists which was not easy but was accomplished in a calm discussion.
18 young people will be educated for one year : 9 are at primary school (SD), 6 are at College (SMP), 3 are at the Lycée (SMA).
Students from la Sarthe are becoming mobilised Students of the 5th form at the Maupertuis College in Le Mans organised a sale of crêpes to educate 2 primary school children for one year at the Hiliamaeta school in Nias. At my request the Headmaster of this school directed us to two children of the village whose very poor families were unable to cover the costs of education. I met the two young girls who are now being educated.
For two years the Maupertuis primary school has been in contact with the students of the school at Hiliamaeta. This year thanks to profits made from a crafts fair organised at Christmas and at the school fête, young people from Le Mans have made the purchase of equipment for schools possible.
4 • THE ISLAND OF ASU
This little island is situated in the Hinako archipelago to the west of Nias. It can be accessed from the port of Sirombo in a 5 hour journey on a local boat. Papa Silvis owns the local boat and his wife Mama Silvis owns three bungalows on the beach (white sand, coconut trees, warm sea, and tropical fish !!!) On this island a dozen families make a very poor living out of collecting coconuts. They only speak Nias and the children receive no education because of lack of funds to send them to the isle of Hinako or to Nias. An association, Yayasan Indo Jiwa, run by an Australian woman called Ruby, built a little nursery school attended by all the children, free of charge, so that they can learn Indonesian. This Yayasan would like to open a primary school. Mama Silvis (Trisna) helps people considerably (she had a well dug and obtained a pump from Surf Aid). She is now working with us. Her husband is the grandson of the last king of Hinako. They are landowners in Asu.
In Asu, thanks to Mama Silvis’s help, we are educating Saldi for one year. He is the son of Nursan who attends the college in Hinako.