In Indonesia, Rebuilding After So Much Loss

Nearly a month after a deadly earthquake and subsequent landslides swept through her village in Indonesia, Mrs. Teteng is trying to cope with her overwhelming grief and put her life back together. While three members of her family survived, she lost a daughter and two sons that day, in addition to her son-in-law – all buried in the landslide.

Mrs. Teteng, 50, was outside her home in Paneh village, Padang Pariaman district, when the earthquake struck. “It happened in a blink of an eye,” she remembers. “There was no way I could save my family. It felt like the world was coming to an end.”

She arrived at International Medical Corps’ health post with her 11-year-old son and a relative, who said search and rescue teams had just pulled Mrs. Teteng’s 18-year-old daughter from the rubble the day before.

Mrs. Teteng is grateful for International Medical Corps’ clinic, as the health care facilities she and her family previously used are now destroyed. She arrived at the clinic, complaining of bad headaches. Having grown up an orphan, struggling to survive, and later struggling to raise five children with her husband, she says she now feels she has no one she can talk to.

Compounding her troubles, the landslides buried her house and the paddy fields where she and her husband work as farmers. Water pipelines also were ruptured in the earthquake, making it arduous for her and other villagers to find clean water. They must walk 20 minutes each way into the mountains to get water, and male and female villagers must bathe together at the water point. Food markets were also destroyed, forcing her and others to take food distributions from relief agencies and the government.

“When all of this first happened I was in shock,” she says.” But not anymore – even when the teams brought in the bodies of my family members one-by-one. I believe my children are in God’s hands and He will take care of them now.”

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