Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Reality Strikes Again

I have spent quite a bit of time driving around Aceh in the past few days. Amid the obvious destruction and reconstruction, the beautiful tranquility of this small part of the world is front and center everytime I leave the hustle and bustle of Banda Aceh.

The breathtaking views from the road are like scenes from an exotic travel poster (and my photos clearly do NOT do justice to what my naked eye can see).

From the moment that I arrived, I've had these lingering, nagging thoughts. When (not if) will this region suffer another devastating earthquake and tsunami? Will all of the reconstruction come crashing down again?

So I was a bit startled to learn upon arriving back at my hotel from an extended trip to Aceh's highlands that a powerful earthquake struck western Sumatra this morning. The quake and at least one powerful aftershock caused extensive damage near the epicenter and killed dozens.

I was around 500 miles from the the epicenter, and I can honestly say that I didn't feel a thing. But the idea that my nagging thoughts could come true at any moment will likely keep me awake a bit longer tonight.
--Kristin McHugh

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