Enough with planning, it’s time to get our hands dirty and begin the real work of the project. Tomorrow we’ll be visiting three sites in Banda Aceh to inspect the installation of 4 radio systems including a repeater on top of one of the local hills.
Next week we’re going to cover all of the sites on the east coast of Aceh province visiting the towns of Sigli, Bireuen, Lhokseumawe, Langsa, and Tamiang. In total we’ll be inspecting 11 radio installations along the coast. These radios were installed back in 2005 and have been visited in the past few months by an Indonesian Red Cross IT/Telecom technician who has made any repairs necessary. Our job will be to inspect the work he has done and ensure the installations meet IFRC standards.
We’ll be travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser and will be accompanied by Alex (an IFRC IT Technician), Jumari (an interpreter), and a driver. The Land Cruiser is decorated all over with Red Cross logos and has a VHF radio and an HF radio on board for communication. It will probably be a bit of a bumpy ride as the roads can be very rough in places. From Banda Aceh to our furthest point is approximately 10 hours driving and we will be home by 5:00pm next Friday.
The following week we are planning to visit several towns on the west coast including Calang, Meulaboh, and Blangpidie. More on that trip in a future blog.
I have no idea what internet access we’ll have next week so it may be a while before I update the blog.
Sarmad, the IFRC IT/Telecom coordinator left for his home in Jakarta this afternoon. He’s been the driving force behind the authorization and planning for this project. He has so much local knowledge it was hard to see him go. Sarmad is an Iraqi who lived in Baghdad during the two wars and witnessed the invasion of Iraq first hand. We have had some fascinating discussions with him about the wars from his perspective. He’s been great to work with. We’ll join up again in 2 weeks when we do radio installations in Medan and on the island of Nias.