Thank you for your concern about my country

I’m safe and sound in Salatiga. That’s my reply to some friends abroad who asked if in any ways I got affected by the recent earthquake in Jogja.

The inquiry of my friends is of course very relevant, because Jogja is only 100 kms away from Salatiga. In fact, during the 59 seconds of the 6.3 richter scale earthquake, we could feel the earth moving, but thank God, the epicentrum was far away from us so it left Salatiga intact. Thank you for some friends (Monica — the first to send me email, Esteban — her boyfriend who forwarded my reply to Fulbright community in Ames, Anne, Raul, and others) who showed their concerns for me and my family.

Some other people may not be as lucky as us. The death toll reached about 5,500 lives and thousands were injured. Of course, there are also countless others who are homeless now and once again, just like during the 2005 tsunami in Aceh, my fellow country people show their greatest strength of helping one another. Donation boxes are distributed during Friday prayer in mosques and Sunday Mass in churches. You can also donate through some volunteers who stand by the street intersections to offer the donation boxes to passerbys. Other public places like my campus, malls, shops also have these boxes. Food, money, clothes, tents, anything that can help the victims, will be greatly appreciated and taken by the volunteers to be transported and distributed later in Jogja.

Or will it be?

The question of whether what people donate will reach the victims is always lingering in my mind everytime I see volunteers collecting donation. Call me a pessimistic, but I saw in news that some areas affected have not received the help and assistance that they badly need. Maybe it’s distribution problem. Maybe it’s transportation problem. I just hope that it’s not because some individuals try to get benefits out of people’s suffering and misery. Just this morning, my uncle who just returned from visiting his relatives in Klaten (not far from Jogja and also affected by the earthquake) told me that there were 3 trucks, full of looters, arrived in the areas to get any valuables from the collapsed houses. Not to mention that during the first hours after the earthquake, some individuals spread the rumor of tsunami reaching for Jogja’s downtown, only to create urgent evacuation so that the houses would be left unattended and those criminals would be free to loot.

What happen in this world? Last two years, the tsunami, this year, the earthquake, and many other natural disasters. I have a little voice telling at the back of my brain: the end is near. Maybe it’s time for the apocalypse. Am I ready for it?


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