Sunday, April 22, 2007

Starting a Banda Aceh blog ...

Hello, folks! I thought I'd try using this blog format to post some text and photos from the big island of Sumatra, Indonesia. A Wikipedia location map of Indonesia is to the right, and a more detailed picture of Sumatra is on lower left.

I will use this space to periodically post some photos and text so you can see what I see out there in Indonesia. In addition to the blog, I've added Aceh-related news items from Google News on the left-hand side of this page.

I will be departing Michigan, tentatively, on May 4, arriving in Banda Aceh in May 8 after overnight stops in Singapore and Medan. (I need to spend a whole day in Singapore to get the non-immigrant visit visa for Indonesia.)

First of all, where am I going? See the figure at left. My posting will be in the city of Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province at the northern tip of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. For a quick-and-dirty look at its history and culture of this very unique province of Indonesia, check out this Wikipedia article.

This is the area of Indonesia that was devastated by the
December 26, 2004 tsunami. Anywhere from 100 - 250 thousand people lost their lives. Here's some "light" reading from the World Bank on what they're trying to accomplish, through projects like ours, in Aceh province and Nias island.

Currently, there are a total of 17 projects that aim to bring this province back to its feet and bring it into the Indonesian mainstream. You can see the list of projects here. (The page loads VERY slowly, probably because it's on a local PC server in Jakarta!) Our project is No. 13 on the list.

The project to which I'm assigned ("Infrastructure Reconstruction Enabling Program" --- IREP), will be to help the Indonesian agency in charge of the reconstruction effort coordinate the efforts of five regional reconstruction offices to design and construct infrastructure in the province and the island of Nias.

To see some photos of the various reconstruction project areas that a European photographer took in and around Aceh recently, point your browser to this page (may load very slowly).

OK, folks, watch this space!