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Indonesia: stories of resilience, courage and wisdom

It is rightly said that tough times bring the best in people. Two weeks ago, a devastating earthquake and Tsunami hit the region of Palu in Indonesia. More than 2000 people are known to have died and about 5000 are still feared to be missing. People are mourning for the loss of their dear ones and they are deprived of their possessions.  Surprisingly, they have not lost their spirit and resilience. Among ruin, rubbish, destruction and despair, they are making up their mind to move forward and rebuild their lives.

Rahmat Saiful Bahri, an Indonesian living in Aceh has survived two tsunamis in 2004 and 2018 respectively.  He has had a narrow escape with death on those two occasions. Still, the brave man is thankful to god for being alive.  He prays along with his family and with tears in his eyes, he affirms that god still loves him and that matters the most to him.

A small and cute boy of about 10 years tells a reporter how he has witnessed people being dragged away by water and buried by the mud. It was a harrowing scene which will always be etched in his memory.  Fear writs large on his face and the future seems uncertain to him when he evokes the consequences of the calamity.  However, he adds that he feels a burning desire to become a military pilot one day so as to bring aid to people who are facing hardship. He feels that he must contribute to relieve people of their misery.  The boy is so young and yet he is aspiring to reach out to others when he grows up.

An old man who has lost his relatives is wiping his tears. He is so sad that his country has been destroyed. Yet he points out that he loves his motherland and will never leave it, whatever may come. He has so many sweet memories and he cannot imagine living elsewhere. He explains: "This is the land of my ancestors and my family. I have always lived here and I will die here"  

Christine is the only nurse who is on duty to relieve those who are suffering  She tirelessly takes care of the injured, especially children who have been accommodated in tents as the hospital has been destroyed. She says that she must be true to herself and listen to her calling. "It's my calling to help others" she says without blinking her eyes.  Replying to a question of a reporter, a young girl who is being treated in the camp says that she feels lucky to be alive and she thanks the volunteers who serve food everday in the camps.

Annissa is the only  woman who is busy helping a team rescuing survivors and recovering bodies. She is determined to fulfil her task as it is a matter of saving those who have survived  and burying the dead with dignity. She talks from the heart and demonstrates untold courage: " We have to do the work with all our heart. I am devastated to see how many people have lost their relatives"

Those who own small businesses are resuming work to serve the inhabitants. A motorcycle mechanic wisely points out: " I have reopened my business to instill hope in people and to make them realise that they are now safe and they must move forward in life" A food seller who is busy preparing food underlines that people are happy that she has reopened her trade:" I am selling food at a very reasonable price and people like it as it is a balanced diet.. Otherwise, they are being served instant noodles in the temporary camps where they have found shelter" In the same vein, a young hairdresser is busy cutting the hair of a customer. He believes that  everything will get back to normal and it is his duty to help his customers get a nice hair cut: "Everyone must look smart before falling in their routine life again as the government is looking forward to reopen schools and offices shortly"

Indonesia is often hit by natural calamities. Far from losing faith and courage, its people are teaching valuable life lessons to the world. The Indonesians are staying united in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood. They are exuding love, wisdom, resilience in tough times and they are looking forward to rebuild their life as best as they can.


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