vi·car·i·ous trav·el·er


4square, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Joel Strayer and da boyz at had yet another "fansy dress" party. The theme: High School Cliques. Way to go boys! This was one of your best parties yet. Who rocks at Four Square?

Which one of these girls actually dressed up for the party?

kitten, originally uploaded by staarkidd.


goths, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

nyerdboy sniffing the goths. scary.


nyerdBOY, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Not quite revenge of the nyerds, but Joel Strayer certainly draws the envious glances from the other nerds as he dances like a wildman with the skater girls!


sk8, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Everyone loves the goth girls!


dixiechicks, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Art girls and Latina wannabes? I showed her!

slugger shots

one_two, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Not sure who was going around slugging everyone, but we had a good laugh at the photos! The juice drops from the mouth were a nice touch Joel!

Moab, Utah

Joel, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

I think it says somewhere in the Bible that a week in Moab with good people is good for the soul. Fourwheelin' in Joel's jeep, the Canyon Lands, Dinosaur tracks and rafting kept us busy and dirty all week. I *heart* dirt!



HK, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Days have passed. I am still not in Sumatra. I have finished my book and most of my research. There is little left to do. Due to strong headwinds, we had to stop in Seoul for extra fuel. This put us at risk of missing our connecting flight. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, we ran across the terminal –including a wrong turn- to meet a flight attendant holding the plane for us. Four hours later, we arrived in Jakarta. Less than an hour after that, Christian and I were on a flight back to Hong Kong –deported. Indonesia law required six months of remaining validity on entering passports. For this reason, the refused to allow me in and they were very ardent about it! The flight attendant assured us that they usually permitted the person to pay a fine and proceed, however, on this day I was the brunt of someone’s bad day. 3 PM, Christian and I boarded a plane and flew back to Hong Kong. Nearly 48 hours have passed without a bed or shower. I am miserable and smelly.

In Hong Kong, I received an emergency second passport, which was a bit confusing because it is actually my third passport. Don’t ask…


maf, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

We finally board our flight to the western shores of Sumatra. Little do i know what is in store for Christian and I.


coast, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

I’m not sure how to express my feelings. Driving south of the airport, we visited three CAMA workshops where new boats are being built. The only visible sign of the villages that dotted the coast before the tsunami are the temporary tents and flags set up on flat cement slabs upon which their houses once stood.


destruction, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

car, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Rebuilding Boats

interview, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

In the shade of a tin roof, skeletons of boats rested neatly in rows on rough planks. The project leader came forward to greet us and apologize for the small number or workers. They were looking forward to the film team coming to tell their story but a funeral drew most of the fishermen away. The previous day their village hosted a three-hour gun battle between GAM rebels and the military.

Men at Work

work, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Jumping Snakes

snake, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

So happy to finally arrive in Sumatra, Christian went a little trigger-happy with his camera. Intently focused on the unique features and expression of the kid who seemed to display more alarm and concern than any of the others we had met. It took a moment for Christian to discern between the emotion of tsunami victim and someone in immediate danger, as the kid pointed to the beam directly behind Christian. I noticed the commotion just in time to see a villager swat at the beam with a long stick. Two halves of a snake fell to the ground as bystanders closed in to watch the snake continue to writhe and slip under some planks. The locals call it a jumping snake – a snake known for its potent venomous bite.


boat2, originally uploaded by staarkidd.


boats1, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Largely based on fishing, the economy of these coastal communities has been entirely wiped out. No boats mean no work, no house, no food, and no security. I knew this fact before I arrived, however driving mile after mile after mile the destruction doesn’t end. I cannot get my mind beyond the thousands of faces. CAMA has already set up 4 or 5 boat construction or repair workshops. At each workshop I was greeted with the same enormous smile, handshake and a hand covering the heart so full of gratitude. One hajji broke down into a fit of tears as he explained that without the help of groups like CAMA funded by good strangers overseas these men would have no hope. His village was among the worst hit by the tsunami. The hajji and his friends loaded on to a repaired boat to have a look at their village. Miles of land had sunk several feet into the sea, swallowing the road and most of his village. The Hajji pointed to a cluster of drowned trees with a laugh. He said he left his car their but hasn’t yet had time to retrieve it. The other men let out howls of laughter for they too had similar anecdotes.

Boat Launch

launch, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

While a group of men gathered around a newly constructed boat strategizing the most primitive ways imaginable to heave a boat into water, Boy crouched silently in the shade of a grounded boat’s bow. Boy is 12. At the time of the tsunami, he was able to cling to a tree, saving his life. When the waters subsided, he headed to high ground but soon received word that every member of his family died in the waves except for his father. Boy stayed by his father’s side until he also died. An orphan, Boy is left with nothing but the wrecked shell of his fathers boat. CAMA plans to rebuild Boys boats in fulfillment of our mandate to care for the orphans and widows.


boy, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

Avacado Ice Cream?

icecream, originally uploaded by staarkidd.

We had to try it. Not too bad although I'd be suprised if it's not in the Ben and Jerry's icecream graveyard.