THE J OURNEY TO THE NORTH
people might familiar with the story of Son Go Kong and his fellows in “The journey to the west” fairy tale. The story tells how Son Go Kong and his fellows should carry out an arduous and dangerous mission to save mankind. Recent Tsunami in Mentawai Island has brought YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) to serve community in the most remote areas which spread in North Pagai district. The earlier assessment in North Pagai captured abandoned community with a little attention from local stakeholders. “The journey to the north” was an extraordinary journey by YEU to serve affected community in North Pagai.
To conduct a response in Saumanganyak village, we can use boat to shorten the time. If there is no high wave, it only takes 1 hour from Sikakap to Saumanganyak village by boat. Indeed by boat is the easiest and fastest way but we need to pay more for renting boat, 100 litres of gasoline and boat operator’s service. It is cost us around 1 – 2 millions rupiahs for one return trip. One time we wanted to go Saumanganyak by sea route. After sailing 1 km from Sikakap, high wave came and stroke our boat. We were thrown down forcedly but we did not give up yet and still wanted to conquer the wave to continue the journey. After 30 minutes stroke by high waves many times and bruises everywhere, we decided to cancel the journey and went back to Sikakap. Overland trip to Saumanganyak also depends on the tide and weather condition.
An old w ooden bridge, the only bridge which connect Muara Taikako village with other villages was in a very bad shape because of that reaching the villages in North overland we can only use motorcycle. The sky was still dark and the sun hasn’t woke up yet when we started our motorcycle engine. We always left YEU office early in the morning to anticipate the bad weather. It took 2 up to 3 hours to reach the villages by motorcycle. That day, sun was very shiny on the other hand the road was very slippery. As we expected, after the rain and storm yesterday night, the road was very muddy and slippery. Our motorcycle slipped several times and almost fell down too. The field was very tough and our motorcycle had come to its limit. My teammate decided to go down from his motorcycle and pushed me and my motorcycle to save me from the “mud trap”. After 30 minutes trying, we succeed escaping from the mud trap.
After escaping from the mud trap, we ran our motorcycle in medium speed across the green forest where big trees are lush. We had to stop 3 times when 3 big trees fall down lie across the narrow road. Sometimes to pass the fallen tree, we break through brush wood. Scarce and scratches are common things to us. Passed the forest, we met 2 rivers. Yes, as usual we need to across the river to reach the village. There are 2 middle-aged men near the river with their raft. We put our motorcycle on the raft and then crossed the river using the raft. The journey crossed the first was ran smoothly, and we paid 20 thousand rupiahs just for one way trip. For the second river connected directly to the sea, that is why sometimes we need to wait around 30 minutes until the wave is low. Using big ropes, a young man pulled the raft which is carrying my teammates and our motorcycle across the river. The price for the raft service is the same, 20 thousand rupiahs for one way trip.
After crossing upon the other side, we arrived at the village. If you are planning to conduct activities until dawn, you should overnight at the village, but if do not want to, you have to leave the village before dawn to anticipate high tide at the river. Overall, what an exhausting and challenging journey I have today. Thanks to God, He did not give rain on our journey. The important thing is that exhaustion bruises and scarce will not last forever whilst the smile, the health and happiness of the tsunami survivors will last forever in our heart, mind and soul.