Since the first earthquake we’ve been talking about how the research team of our beloved Gili Shark Conservation Project can help the community of Gili Air to rebuild their paradise. We decided to focus on the three following points:
1. Healing the trauma of the children
Every Saturday we visit the local school on Gili Air to host our Club Harapan, which freely translated means Club of Hope & Dreams. The school of Gili Air is luckily still standing after all the earthquakes we had in the last 3 weeks but it needs fixing. We want to ask the engineer team that will visit Villa Nangka next week to also visit the school and estimate the costs of the repair work. We will donate some of the money that we received through our crowd funding to the school so they can hopefully open their doors again in the very near future.
We want the school to be a place where the children can freely ask questions, talk about their feelings and feel safe. In one of my previous post I reached out to everyone who has experience in helping children to deal with trauma. I’m happy to share with you that I’ve got great response; I received lesson plans, outlines for games and activities and a yoga teacher that is specialized in traumas will visit us in October. But more always helps more. So if you have an idea or experience how we can help the wonderful kids of Gili Air with healing their trauma, don’t hesitate to send me a message.
2. Educating the community about natural disasters
The one thing that’s worse than feeling all these earthquakes is the fear mongering that is going on, causing panic while most of the time this is completely unnecessary. An earthquake doesn’t kill people, buildings and how people react do. Studies shown that most injuries occur the hours after an earthquake.
To be completely honest, I was also one of these people that didn’t know much about earthquakes, (Why would I? I grew up in the Netherlands!) but I think I can say by now I’m quite an expert.
I was having dinner with my good friend Renee while the first big earthquake happened. Shortly after I jumped on my bike to drive to Villa Nangka to ensure our guests were safe and to check on my Sunshine. On the way home I saw many people sitting in trees and I remember wondering: “Why do people start climbing threes right after an earthquake?” It didn’t seem logic. The word tsunami never crossed my mind and I heard it for the first time just before I arrived at Villa Nangka.
The tsunami warning was withdrawn in less than an hour but for most people the fear for a tsunami stayed all night. Based on what I have witnessed with my own eyes, I can give you the advice: Climbing threes out of the fear of tsunami while the world is still shaking isn’t the best idea
The earthquake was scary but what I found far scarier is to witness how panic arises in a large crowd. The first big earthquake was on a Sunday, the second big earthquake was last Sunday and tomorrow its Sunday again. The rumor started to go around in Lombok that another earthquake will hit tomorrow and people are leaving their camps and fleeing to the mountains because they are scared. You can’t blame them, if you don’t have the knowledge how would you know that you can’t predict earthquakes?
An official statement from the Government has been sent out basically saying this rumor is complete bullshit and people should remain calm. Its working and most people returned to their camps. But the fear is not complete gone, our boys Marco and Iling from Lombok decided to stay with their family till at least Monday.
Our research team is working hard every day to explain the community (online and face to face): what is an earthquake, what to do when an earthquake occurs and what causes a tsunami. Today we invited everyone to bring us a sample of their well water to test salinity, suspended particles
3. Assisting our staff and neighbors with rebuilding their homes.
We have six volunteers arriving in September and four of our friends will come to help us. Together with our boys and the staff of our research team we will be around 20 people. When this storm will pass and the earth becomes quiet again we will help our staff and neighbors to rebuild their homes. For our boys from Lombok that lost their house we will order military tents from Java. These will be flown over in the next few days to provide our boys with proper shelter, especially now rainy season is around the corner. Although not a long-term solution, these tents will ensure that our boys and their families have space and protection to finally rest.
Last but definitely least I would like to share something with you that a close friend of mine send to me the other day:
8 things to remember when you are going through a though time
- Everything can – and will – change.
- Don’t forget you overcome challenges before.
- It’s a learning experience
- Not getting what you want can be a blessing (I guess it’s too early to realize this but I hope we can say this one day in the future)
- Allow yourself to have some fun.
- Being kind to yourself is the best medicine
- Other people’s negativity isn’t worth worrying about.
- Ad there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
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