Monday, May 29, 2006

Bantul

Today I saw a lot of bodies and a lot of suffering people. The Bantul
district was flattened by the quake, and only a few buildings like the
hospital I visited remain intact. There were hundreds of people with
head wounds and crushed limbs in the ward – all spread out on blankets
and straw mats around the floor. There were open air surgeries going
on all over the place – mostly sutures and fracture setting business.
There's clearly not a lot of pain killers around because the people,
many of them kids, were screaming while the doctors worked.

Hundreds of people have turned to begging for aid. This morning
international aid still hadn't been distributed, and it's clear most
had gone hungry since Saturday. Even the people at the hospital
hadn't eaten since their previous breakfast 24 hours and a long night
ago. I talked to some of the people on the roadside, gave them what I
could. People who are not used to begging are especially emotional
about it. It's a line many people don't expect to cross. Even with
so many people crossing the line at once, the resulting humility can
be expensive.

There was also a mosque that had been turned into a morgue. I thought
it was stacks of supplies at first, maybe tents, because Muslim people
wrap their dead in a way that's still not immediately familiar to me.
In plain cloth, sort of bundled. Thousands of people died here. I saw
just a few dozen.

I feel like such details may be too sensational to put up here- the
kind of thing that ends up on bad disaster TV anyway. But the fact is
it's all I can think about. I've never seen anything like it. These
people are having a terrible week. I held my sensations at bay for
most of the day, but they poked through at awkward times otherwise.
While reading stories for the network, for example, it's best not to
weep. If you do, they'll accuse you of sensationalism.

4 Comments:

Blogger crawdaddy said...

I don't know what to say.
You are one courageous man.
This may sound cold, but it's not the dead that I mourn.
Their suffering is over.
It's those that have to live among the dead that my heart goes out to.
Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters...
all with this huge hole in their lives, trying to figure out how to survive.
A slip of a fault.
A geologically small slip of plates and everything changes.

Stay strong.
Stay safe.
There are a whole bunch of people around the world who are keeping you in the thoughts and hearts.
peace,
j

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited with Margi and Tom today. I can tell you how very proud your father is of you and how releived he is to know of your safety, as well as his worry for you, which is only instinctual as a parent. I am very saddened for those who are living the nightmare, but outside of that, I am so proud to have you as part of the family. You amaze me constantly, and I am thrilled that my daughter looks up to someone like you. Please take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, and know you are very much in our thoughts.
Alison

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

I'm so proud of you Chad. And so sorry that you, or anyone, has to experience this. I want to say "Don't go there, don't grow up so fast!", then I remember you're already all grown up. And that's exactly why you're there. Take good care. I love you.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the warming support messages. I'm really glad you're keeping track. I know what I do - the kinds of experiences that I am drawn to - causes worry in the people who love me. The family rule used to be that I would only tell stories about the risks after I was all safe and back home. As my mother recently pointed out, that model doesn't work when I file for international radio networks and post on a worldwide electronic rag. So I'm sorry for the worry this may cause. I really am safe right now, and I'm carefully measuring risks before I take them. Merapi's really active right now, for example, but scientists and spiritual leaders alike are saying it won't come anywhere near Jogja. I can't be perfectly safe, but I can be somewhat safe and still do what I'm doing.

7:26 AM  

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