It takes courage to grow


November 29, 2010

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    Mercy Corps Indonesia  </span>
    Mercy Corps' Indonesia Response Team delivers household kits — containing supplies like a saw, lantern, hammer and nails — to tsunami-affected families in the Mentawai Islands. Photo: Mercy Corps Indonesia

We were all awake at 6 A.M. on Saturday morning. For the next hour and a half, we were getting ready for our day, double-checking our task list and making sure everything was right. Then we were on our way to Sabeu Gung Gung to distribute household Kits to tsunami-affected families.

Sabeu Gung Gung is only an hour away from our base in Sikakap, Mentawai Islands by speedboat and, luckily, we have the use of Green Music Fund’s speedboats. So away we went. Our group consisted of Afkar, Hankey, Iswanto, Mona (from local non-governmental organization READY, who we are working with), me and a few more people from GMF. This is my first distribution with the team, and I’m stoked to get out there.

The ocean was calm like a lake today. There really wasn’t much movement (besides two dolphins cruising), but you could see the waves breaking hard on the land. The coastline is very damaged from the tsunami — a lot of palm trees are knocked down and strewn across the beach. I wonder how long they’ll stay there.

Close to Sabeu Gung Gung, the water was choppier and about two kilometers south of where we were sailing, there was an area that I can only describe as a washing machine. Huge waves were crashing into each other and the coastline from all sides. It was quite a sight to see...from a safe distance!

We arrived in Sabeu Gung Gung and distributed 57 household kits containing supplies like a saw, lantern, hammer, nails, spade and other items to rebuild local homes. Afterwards, we had a look around.

A couple things struck me when I was walking. First, I noticed that there is a lot of coral and shells in places you would never imagine. So much of the seafloor was brought up to higher ground with the waves. Secondly, I noticed new growth. The tropical weather helps plants grow quickly and, for me, it was a metaphor of just how resilient people are.

Two small bright purple flowers were blossoming in the sun. It struck me to see such vibrant little things, growing and stretching to live in the light. It takes courage and resiliancy to grow.

I think of the people in Mentawai — and all over the world, in fact — who are rebuilding their lives every day. One step at a time. Growing and pushing to blossom in the light.