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For 45-year-old Pak Tarmidji, life has irrevocably changed since the 2004 tsunami. His beloved wife, Ibu Sulistin, was literally swept from his grasp by the giant wave as he clung desperately to a tree. He is now raising their children without her. And, after years of making his living as a fisherman, he finds himself unable to return to the sea.
Pak Tarmidji lives in Glee Bruek village in Indonesia’s Aceh region, a community that numbered more than 1,100 residents before the tsunami but which lost more than 800 residents in the natural catastrophe. Today, two years later, life is slowly improving in his village, in part due to water supply & sanitation projects and livelihood programs funded by AmeriCares and implemented by partner Project Concern International (PCI).
Since April 2006, AmeriCares and PCI have undertaken a project to bring clean water to Glee Bruek and three neighboring villages – Pudeng, Pasi and Meunasah Lhok – in the sub-district of Lhoong. As Pak Tarmidji notes today, the availability of clean water for drinking and washing purposes was always a problem in this region, even before the tsunami. With AmeriCares’ support, PCI is constructing four piped water systems that, when finished in the coming weeks, will serve a total of 4,822 people.
Pak Tarmidji has already benefited from this project. He was appointed by his fellow villagers to be the local head of the Clean Water Infrastructure Project, giving him a new livelihood with new responsibilities. He is very enthusiastic about the changes this new endeavor will bring to his community.
“I am still too traumatized to go back to fishing, I am just not ready yet,” says Pak Tarmidji. “However, I have been involved in many activities with PCI and AmeriCares, and I am thankful for that, especially for the clean water, which has long been a dream for myself and my neighbors.”
This is just one example of how people in Indonesia and Sri Lanka are benefiting from AmeriCares tsunami recovery efforts.See more about AmeriCares efforts in the tsunami region here.