Heart breaking stories of Aceh

Just got back from a 4 days 3 nights holiday trip in Aceh. Most of the stories there were about the 2004 tsunami. Plenty of times I felt a lump in my throat whenever we hear stories of lost lives and survival, and see reminders of the catastrophic event.

Our first stop was a mass graves where thousands of tsunami victims were buried there. These were bodies which could not be identified and therefore nobody came to collect them. Our tour guide says in the aftermath of the event, hundreds of lifeless bodies could be seen strewn along the street or drifting away on the river. We heard accounts of some survivors who lost their loved ones while trying to escape and till today do not know where their bodies are. Good God…

There is a dome that got separated from the rest of the mosque building, drifted and smacked right in the middle of another village.

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I guess it is only natural that in moments of such colossal disaster, people turn to God for solace, protection and to move on. Everywhere in Aceh you will see mosques.

(Below) This is a ship that weighed a mighty 2.6K tonne, got drifted inland by the giant waves and landed in the middle of a residential area.

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(Below) Taking a selfie in front of the entrance to Kampung Jackie Chan (the village was actually sponsored by the China government, and Jackie Chan only sponsored the kenduri haha!)

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(Below) This is a boat which landed right on top of someone’s house, saving 59 lives in the process. It was heartbreaking hearing the account of the survivor first hand, especially how she lost her mother and one child trying to escape, and how they held on to a coconut tree for hours until her smallest child turned blue T_T

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(Above) Behind us used to be dry land, before it was wiped out by the tsunami.

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(Above) Mom, Amin and I in the Tsunami Museum. Pretty impressive museum I’d say. If we look up the short bridge, there are flags of countries who had offered their assistance to Aceh, including Malaysia.

Another thing we note, and the tour guide says this too, is that the tsunami also brought positive changes to Aceh. Because of the international attention and aid pouring in, Aceh recovered quite well and in some aspect the development today in terms of economy and infrastructure is even better than it was before the tsunami. It was also largely due to the peace agreement reached by the factions fighting within Aceh, and it is believed the tsunami was the turning point for parties to agree to end conflicts in the area which had been going on for so many years. Alhamdulillah for this.

It truly was a humbling experience for me to hear about the power and wisdom of Allah. It was also inspiring to hear their stories of resilience, renewed faith and hope for peace and progress for Aceh.

I pray Aceh will continue to prosper. Amin…

(Below) Dad took this blurred photo just before our plane home took off. It was my 3rd day replacing my fasting T_T

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Note: Woke up late for sahur this morning just in time for some dates and mineral water. Haihh… Ramadhan kareem everyone! May our prayer and our efforts to be a better Muslim be well rewarded. Amin…