On Dec. 26, 2004, water rushed into the city of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Many thought the looming grey background was the overcast sky until the series of several large waves engulfed the city as high as four stories.
and my work was also highlighted on photographer Ed Kashi's blog, who mentored me a few years ago and has seen my work develop. Ed's constant reminder to follow stories that I care about has resonated with me for many years, especially through the tough times when I was not progressing visually. His incredible work on photojournalism and storytelling on the effects of politics, whether through health care or natural resources can all be seen on his website and stories throughout National Geographic.
The people of Banda Aceh never knew what a "normal" life was previous to the 2004 tsunami, which killed about 160,000 people in the Aceh Province of Indonesia. They lived with 30 years of war in a politically unstable region. With the help of hundreds of international aid organizations, the entire city and surrounding villages were rebuilt, leaving residents to continue on without them with the daily buzz of motorbikes and the call to prayer. And without political strife due to the signing of the 2005 Helsinki peace accords between the Indonesian military and the rebel army of the Free Aceh Movement.
Calls for prayer echo throughout the northern-most tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. Banda Aceh was put on the modern day world map when the city and surrounding villages was destroyed from a 7-wave tsunami that killed 130,00 ppl. Landmarks and monuments are ships that landed on people's homes and unmarked mass graves that hold tens of thousands of people. You really have to be here. The amount of water that flowed into the capital is incomprehensible.
When I heard this quote, it was meant not only literally, but also culturally. Sharia Law, or islamic law, was in placed about 10 years ago, and becoming more strict (subjective term) with the increasing departure of ngo/aid agencies, affecting non-muslims, like the Chinese community, from conducting business during Islamic holidays, and preventing the sale of non-muslim products/items. This quote also has another meaning which I"ll get into much later after I photograph one of my projects.
On my first day, we (my guide, her friends and I) were fortunate to go into the Tsunami Museum, which opened in August, but now closed to the public due to lack of funding to continue beautification projects of the 4-story structure. The Museum cost $5.6 million usd yet there are still thousands of families still homeless throughout the province.
Naomi Lawler, 34, an American expat living in San Miguel de Allende, originally from Wisconsin by way of San Diego, dedicates her weekends to two orphaned sisters, Angeles and Elena. She has been a host mother to the girls, whose ages are around 5 and 8-years-old, for nearly two years.
My annual fundraiser for SurfAid. Thank you for supporting SurfAid International, a non-profit humanitarian organization, that works to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions of Indonesia connected to us through surfing. The group works to eradicate malaria, establish emergency preparedness, and disaster relief programs throughout the Mentawai and Nias islands. Your contribution is greatly appreciated and every donated, tax-deductible dollar will help tremendously.
Help me meet my goal by clicking on the link above.
I am fundraising again for SurfAid International -- www.surfaidinternational.org to raise money for their efforts to eradicate malaria, establish emergency preparedness, and disaster relief programs, such as from earthquakes and tsunamis, throughout the Mentawai and Nias islands of Indonesia. Part of my fundraising is to swim, hence, swim for life, and I'm preparing for it now, if I can find a pool! The last time I was in the water was, sadly, this time last year. And as a surfer at heart, and swimmer for life, this is not good - like a fish out of water! But swim practice or not, I will take the plunge.
My other goal for the upcoming year is to make a trip to Indonesia, not just to work on photography projects and stories, but to document the efforts of SurfAid, and the daily life of the native people who live in one of the most isolated places in the world.
For your donation, please go to:
Spare a latte, and donate your 3 bucks!
Click on the link to see my pictures from the auction. $10.3 mil was raised for 47 non-profits in the napa valley.
there is a picture of a woman lying on the ground, with her arm around her dead son, taken by jason lee of reuters. that is the picture that broke me. i actually cried from the photograph. it wasn't a compelling image, but rather how straight-foward it was. there was no complexity necessary to make it an interesting picture. i didn't need to see pain on her face but rather it was her body language, her arm around her dead son. and she was with him while the dead person next to them was left alone. the earthquake in china is devastatingly sad. it was so disasterous that it literally took the Chinese army to be the first responders. if only our country could have responded as fast as the Chinese govt to the Katrina disaster....
and shame on the burma govt....they are literally killing their own people by preventing humanitarian aid, food and water to enter the country, while people in China are trying to survive, under concrete rubble, in hospitals, or on roadsides, with broken hearts. It doesn't take a natural disaster to act in genocide. and it doesn't take a war or religious differences. it takes a government's stupidity and selfishness...to do something like this. intentionally. when the people are strong again, they will remember how were neglected. and with their unity, they will overthrow their government.
well i decided that I wanted to shoot some news. it was an amazing morning. the city was packed with passionate demonstrations all about the olympic torch and i just need to be out there...shooting. i haven't shot much news lately, if at all. And well actually i haven't shot anything i really cared about in about a month. mostly i've' been burying myself in video editing my mexico project - which is nearly finished - but sometimes, you just have to break out of the safe and secure valley and just get into it...life. its so easy to be lazy here in napa. there's not much going on, not much going on in the communities and you have to dig to find stories. this paper also doesn't cover issues or news stories outside the Valley so I tend to feel very sheltered from the rest of the world and that is scary to me.
so here's what i saw....
Second posting: Reaching out to you all seeing this!! I swim on april 12.
As a photojournalist, I cover issues and events that highlight others in their humanitarian efforts. But for the first time, I'm putting down the cameras and notebook, and jumping back into the water to swim laps in support of the humanitarian programs of SurfAid. This is my first time participating in a fundraiser and one that I am so excited to do! I was a competitive swimmer for nearly half my life so naturally I would splash at the chance to do something like this!
Worldwide, 10 million children die each year from preventable diseases. I'm participating in Swim 4 Life to raise money and awareness for SurfAid International's life-saving programs.
Thank you, in advance for your support of me and my efforts to reduce death and suffering from preventable disease in isolated regions of the world.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support SurfAid International
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