September 28, 2006

Indonesian Hand on a Burundi Sky

Indonesian Hand

Before I start blogging about Burundi, I wanted to share my last weekend in Banda. I've uploaded all the pics on Flickr - we visited some reconstruction sites and met some orphans. We also saw a boat which was carried into town by the tsunami.

And of course, there are some more beautiful sunrises taken from the top of the guesthouse.

Enjoy the pics of Last weekend in Banda Aceh !


The Beaver

September 27, 2006

Arrived in the heart of Africa

I made it safely to Bujumbura. Internet connection here is scarce and dreadfully slow, so hang in there ! I'll update soon.


The Beaver

September 20, 2006

A quickie by the water cooler

Wow. Today I got a quickie by the water cooler.

No. Joking.

There is no water cooler where I work.

And noone to give me a quickie. Or a cookie. Or a hicky. Or a key. Or anything that rhymes with quickie, for that matter.

I have never had a quickie by the water cooler or by anyother work located item, so why am i even talking about that?

Oh - I get it. I must be crazy.

Anyways, I got the next best thing : I got back to Jakarta, and tomorrow I'm off to (successively in the next 48 hours) Dubai, Nairobi and Bujumbura. I calculated that between this morning and my landing in Bujumbura on the 23rd, I will have taken 5 flights and been on 3 continents. It's a broken record.

I'm excited to be out of Aceh. At last, I can have something better than wine in a box. And I won't even need to hide ! I get to have a bit of FUN. (I spent the last 6 weeks claiming that in Aceh, they (don't ask who) took the UN out of FUN. You're welcome to figure out what the F stands for.

I also got a new referral : thank you AIDWORKERS.NET for blogrolling me ! (Although I wonder - does being a compliance pest for the humanitarian sector really make me an AID worker?)

Anyway, I dedicate this pointless post to all AID workers in the world. I see their work daily. Koudos to you guys. I know I pester you with rules and procedures, but I understand and hereby acknowledge the value of your work and the constraints you have to deal with.

I also dedicate this pointless post to all the national staff who strive to support the AID efforts. Without you, we would be nothing, and my life would be boring.

(Can you tell? I already miss Aceh, sincerely, I do.)

The Beaver

This post NOT to be interpreted as a sign that I am no longer depressed. It merely means I am still alive. IN FACT, I'M KINDA LONELY, PEOPLE! Drop me a line.... that'd be nice (except you - you know who you are.)

September 16, 2006


We had an earthquake today. Nothing was destroyed to my knowledge, aside from my sense of equilibrium.

Very strange to fell the world shaking. It didn't trigger a tsunami on Banda though, so everyone is safe.

Life is SO weird sometimes.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

September 15, 2006

More pictures

I've uploaded a new set. Click on the picture to see them all.

Banda Aceh

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

September 13, 2006

More about operating constraints in Aceh

I've been extremely busy with work. If you are wondering what's going on in Aceh, you can feast on this excellent article published by a friend of mine for a Montreal publication.

What used to be, Meulaboh (Indonesia)

Most of it is in French but hopefully I will have time to translate it eventually.

(Quotes are in English though).


Reconstruire apres le Tsunami – audela du reve, la triste realite

Travailler dans la province d’Aceh n’est pas une tache facile. Le 26 décembre 2004, un tremblement de terre de 9.2 a l’échelle de Richter a cause environ 128,790 décès, 37,063 disparitions et laissait un demi million d’Acehnais sans résidence. Les dommages structurels sont estimes à 4.5 milliards de dollars. 21 mois plus tard, malgré les efforts de reconstruction de la population locale et des expatriés, et un budget multilatéral de 525 million de dollars US, il beaucoup reste à faire. Le gouvernement indonésien estime les besoin à 120,000[1] logis. Les humanitaires ont jusqu'à Décembre 2007 pour atteindre cet objectif conjoint malgré les différentes contraintes rencontrées sur le terrain.

A la défense des ONG presentes à Aceh, le terrain n’est guère propice aux grandes entreprises de construction de par son histoire. Plus de 30 ans de conflits entre les rebelles du Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) et l’État Indonésien ont laisse Aceh dans un état de non-droit jusqu'à l’imposition de la loi martiale en 2003. Depuis le tsunami, un cessez-le-feu est en place et le processus de paix est enclenche, mais rien ne garantie la fin permanente des hostilités. Le développement de la region s’en est ressenti, et les chaînes d’approvisionnement limitées et affaiblies par le tsunami sont débordées par la demande soudaine de l’effort de reconstruction. De même, les organisations humanitaires et le gouvernement indonésien s’arrachent le personnel local qualifié, hélas insuffisant.

Depuis le cessez-le-feu, le contexte politique d’Aceh en 2006 ne facilite guère la tache aux humanitaires. Le pacte de paix entre le GAM et les autorités a permis l’adoption référendaire de la loi islamique le 15 août 2005. Le port du voile n’est plus réservé uniquement aux musulmanes pratiquantes. S’y soustraire, tout comme la possession et la consommation d’alcool, sont passibles de châtiment corporel, une mesure appliquée sans réserve. Ce qui décourage l’établissement a Aceh de personnel qualifié originaire des autres îles de l’archipel. Ce mouvement semble en debut d’expansion vers les expatriés selon les propos de Muntasir Hamid, chef de la législature provinciale a Banda Aceh, publies dans le Rakyat Aceh le 7 août dernier: “We did not want the Veranda of Mecca to be contaminated by the presence of NGOs in Banda Aceh as this territory is under the enforcement of Syariah Law. We will ask in this case, the Dinas of Syariah to do search/raid on houses that are occupied by NGOs especially during the evening”.

De plus, Transparency International classe l’Indonésie à 2.2/10 sur l’échelle de la corruption (0 représentant le taux de corruption absolue). A titre d’exemple, la mésaventure d’Oxfam-Australie dont plusieurs employés auraient détourné un montant équivalent a 22,000$US par l’entremise d’activités frauduleuses centrées sur le processus d’achat. Les conditions d’opérations sont propices a de telles combines: dans un communiqué de presse du 4 mai 2006, Oxfam rapportait que la supervision et le processus de suivi était insuffisants. Surtout, le roulement de personnel et la rareté de la main d’œuvre créent les conditions idéales d’une fraude classique. Pourtant, les processus de gestion d’Oxfam ne sont pas en cause – ce sont ces même processus qui ont permis l’identification du problème. Un rapport conjoint produit en juillet 2006 pour le Centre Ulstein et ses partenaires faisait état des risques inhérents au projet: « High-profile emergencies create particular corruption challenges, often with a large number of international relief agencies and corresponding difficulties with coordination and possibly competition between agencies.[2]»

De quoi donner du pain sur la planche aux humanitaires, la clé étant de bien déterminer ses priorités, comme le rappelle le Secrétaire General de l’Agence Indonésienne de Réhabilitation et de Reconstruction, Teuku Kamaruzzaman, en conférence de presse le 28 août dernier: "I ask all parties to focus on efforts being made to rebuild the region devastated by the December 2004 tsunami and to help those affected re-establish a normal life. At the same time, we must remain vigilant and highly critical with respect to irregularities and corruption."

[2] Mapping the Risks of Corruption in Humanitarian Action, publie sur

September 05, 2006

New pictures

I guess life goes on.

Boy... I think it's going on without me, but anyway.

Here are some pictures of the wonders of the world.


Click here to see the whole set of new pictures

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

This Time (Tracy Chapman)

This time
I won't show
I'm vulnerable
This time
I won't give in first

This time
I will hold out with my love
This time
I will not be hurt

I'm gonna love myself
More than anyone else
I'm gonna treat me right
I'm gonna make you say
That you love me first
And you'll be the one with the most to lose tonight
This time

This time
I won't let my emotions rule my life
This time
I'm gonna keep my heart locked safe inside
This time
I'm gonna be my own best friend
This time
I'm gonna be the one

To win
Your love
Your affection
To hide
My fear
Of rejection
This time
(c) Teddy Pendergrass

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

September 01, 2006

For the sake of updating

Just wanted to say i'm still alive. Those of you who have my email address are welcome to write to find out about the state i'm in.

I have pics and stuff to upload... eventually. For now, I'm not very inspired.

But at least, i'm alive. Sometimes, that's all you have to be thankful for.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !