Indonesia Relief Mission 2010 - Tasikmalaya

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Helping Hand For The Merapi Victims

(copy-pasted from Nur 'Aqilah's note)

From a member of Indonesian Relief Mission - Yogjakarta 2009 (Nur Kauthar) :


Hope everyone is in good health and iman.
I believe everyone must have heard about Merapi incident in Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
If you haven’t, just a few links to enlighten you :

or simply google “merapi”…

Merapi and Mbah Maridjan to a certain extent have some links with IMAM.



During Summer 2009, we conducted a relief mission to yogyakarta. And some of our activities involved hiking gunung merapi (at least the foothill), visiting an orphanage of 2006 Merapi victims and visiting Mbah Maridjan whilst we were there.
Feel free to visit for more info

And who is Mbah Maridjan?

He was the ‘gatekeeper’ of the mountain. I am not sure of the accuracy of stories about all the rituals that he led but as far as I understood and recalled from our meeting with him, he was a very pious old man. However, based on our experience, practice of culture and religion amongst most lay people there are pretty mixed up between Islam, Hindu and Buddha.

Ok, now going back to the point I'm making, our friends there from Mer-C ( (it is the organisation that we collaborated with in 2009) have been in contact with us and keep us pretty much updated on the current situation :

and they are now in need of a helping hand. Quoting one of their messages to me:

“makasih banyak bantuannya ya kauthar…karena MER-C sedang butuh dana dan stock obat,,,”

So, how can you help them?
You can help by a few options:

1. Make du’a
2. Go there and help them physically
3. Do something to raise funds
4. Donate

Now, I am trying to do no. 1, 3 and 4, and encouraging you to do the same. You can donate to Islamic Relief etc. But I am giving you an option to pass it to me. I know it is not very professional to use personal account but this is an on-the-spot idea. As I thought I would be transferring some money inshaAllah to them, why not just ask if more people want to donate as well so I can transfer more.

Here are my account details:

Name: Nur Kauthar Fadzil
Acc No: 33813159
Sort Code: 60-12-39
Reference: Merapi

OR… I also set up a paypal button for those who are put off donating by having to log into bank acc etc :

I would inshaAllah open this option until next

Friday 17 November 2010

so that I can transfer the money before I am off to a GP in far away land…

Nur Kauthar Fadzil
4th Year Medicine
University of Leeds

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Our Daily Diaries - Part 1

"The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in every ear; and Allah multiplies for whom He pleases; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing"
Al-Baqarah :261

"Perumpamaan orang yang menginfakkan hartanya di jalan Allah seperti sebutir biji yang menumbuhkan 7 tangkai, pada setiap tangkai ada seratus biji. Allah melipatgandakan bagi siapa yang Dia kehendaki, dan Allah Maha luas Maha mengetahui"

DATE : 1st – 7th August 2010



Day 1 : Salam perkenalan

1st of August 2010

Alhamdulillah after all the difficulties the whole team has been through, 6 members of Indonesian Relief Mission 2010 team managed to gather at LCC Terminal Airport on time. Our flight took off at 9 am.

Air Asia

We arrived at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta at around 11 am. We then took Primajasa (a bus service) to Bandung Supermall where the General Leader of BSMI (Bulan Sabit Merah Indonesia) Tasikmalaya, Dr Husen picked us up and brought us to a restaurant to have our dinner and perform prayers.

Waiting at Bandung

We managed with a whole load of stuffs, alhamdulillah.

We continued our journey to Tasikmalaya which took more than 3 hours from Bandung. We reached our accommodation for the whole week i.e. the house of head of Desa Sukasetia, Pak Kuwu at around 10 pm. Before going to bed, we had a meeting regarding our planned activities with Dr Husen and our facilitators namely Dr Asep Hermana, Dr Ria Triana, and Pak Asep Budiawan. Our activity tentative had to be adjusted to suit our facilitators’ schedule.


Day 2 : Orientasi

2nd of August 2010

This was the orientation day for us. We paid a visit to Pak Kuwu’s office (Kantor Kepala Desa). We put up our banner in front of the office and set up a place for the big event on the next day i.e. mobile clinic a.k.a PUSLING (PUSKESMAS Keliling).

Meeting and discussion with staffs at the office of Head of Village

Arranging the tables etc for the upcoming Pusling

Cleaning up

Next, we visited PUSKESMAS (Pusat Kesihatan Masyarakat) a.k.a the village clinic. We had a ta’aruf session with the doctors, and had a short discussion about our upcoming activities. Afterwards, we also had a chance to listen to their accounts of the 7.3 Richter-scaled disaster. We were told and shown the effects of the earthquake i.e. the cracks on the clinic wall etc.

Crack signs on the wall

Dr. Asep giving us a tour around the clinic

At the same time, we grabbed the chance to ask questions about the health care status of the village people and compare the health issues arising in Indonesia and Malaysia. Among them are the issues of early pregnancies, increasing number of mother and child deaths (significantly due to paraji – unskilled village midwives) and the limited available services to the villagers due to financial problems.

Staffs at the clinics

Later in the evening, we went back home and did some early preparations for the health education session. We packed toothbrushes, toothpastes, and pencil cases containing pencils, erasers, and rulers for approximately 200 students and another 20 orphans.

These were given to the students at the primary school

Toothbrush and toothpaste


At night, we had a meeting as a final preparation for mobile clinics - discussion on how to execute the clinic systematically, prepare the stuffs needed (pamphlets etc.), task delegations, and blood pressure measurement practice.

Our handmade pamphlets

Our Daily Diaries - Part 2


Day 3 : Pusling

3rd of August 2010

As soon as the sun rose, we made our move to Pak Kuwu’s office for the mobile clinics. Things were a bit disorganized at first as the villagers arrived earlier than expected. The place was already full with people waiting to come in at 6.30 am.

Pasien nya sudah antri ba'da subuh

However, with help from the staffs, we managed to handle it appropriately. There were a total of 168 patients registered altogether. We were in charge of registration, blood pressure measurement, taking patients’ weight and height and helping doctors to dispense medicine.

Task delegations - Registration

'Cek tensi' darah

Dr Ria from BSMI helped as volunteer

Apotek (Pharmacy) - they did struggle to read the doctor's handwritings.


Take turns to handle registration - language definitely became challenging!

Height and weight. Most of them are underweight.

Thaqifah practicing her skills with little children at the apotek station

Some of us also took the chance to learn from the history taking and diagnosis sessions with the doctors. It became even more interesting when Dr Ria detected a heart murmur from a patient and with the patient’s consent, she allowed us to listen to it!

Alhamdulillah we managed to handle the hectic situation successfully

After lunch, we went to the Apotik (Pharmacy) located at Tasikmalaya town to buy medicines for circumcision. Apart from that, with Pak Asep’s help, we contacted the person-in-charge to get the clothings (baju melayu) specially made for the kids who were having circumcisions on the next day.

As usual, we had a post-mortem at night time and prepared for the coming circumcision event - decided to play Upin Ipin movies on the wall for the children and parents, task delegations, and contacted the doctors-in-charge for confirmation on a few matters.

Preparing the registration forms

Our Daily Diaries - Part 3


Day 4 : Khitanan

4th of August 2010

Having learnt from previous mistakes, we started off earlier than the day before. Even the doctors arrived as early as 6 am. We carried on with registration procedures and gave the children the clothing. Changing into new clothes before undergoing a very significant procedure in their lives is actually the tradition of the Sunda people. We took turns to assist the doctors, entertain the parents, handle technicalities, and dispense medicines. A total of 9 kids were circumcised. Once we were done with the kids, we were then given a tutorial on the procedures of circumcision from Dr. Asep.

A young child with a brighter future.

The procedure was safe and quick with reduced risks of excessive bleeding.

We couldn't help feeling sorry for the kids even though we knew they were under local anasthesia.

Afterwards, we went home and started packing up clothes and money to be distributed to the villagers who suffered from loss of properties due to earthquake. Along the way to the houses, we were told by Pak Kuwu of the sufferings the villagers had to endure. Houses were destroyed, livestock were lost, properties damaged, and yet they had been receiving little aid. It is somehow relieving to know that Bulan Sabit Merah Indonesia (BSMI) had always been on the move to help by providing sincere support in every way possible to those in need. Since the houses were located far in the village area, we went through quite challenging path but it was worth it for we were met by very thankful and grateful villagers.

On the background is the original site of a totally ruined house

After almost one year, some of them are still living in tents. Heart-breaking isn't it?


Plus, we had the chance to admire the picturesque scenery of the hilly paddy fields.

Subhanallah. Scenic, isn't it?

That night, we had our final preparation for the health education session at the primary schools. But since there were not much to be done (most have been settled earlier), we grabbed the chance to chat and bond with Pak Kuwu’s family.


Day 5 : Ke Tasik

5th of August 2010

One of our team members went back to Malaysia on this day due to family commitments. Albeit only 5 of us were left, we were, figuratively speaking, armed to the teeth for our next activity. However, we were greeted with unforeseen news in the morning - it was school holiday and the primary school a.k.a. Sekolah Dasar (SD) was closed. It was rather disappointing but we managed to come up with a back-up plan. We rescheduled our plan and went to town to buy some books and teaching materials for the schools, both primary and secondary schools (SD and SMP respectively).

We were helped by Pak Kuwu's family

"Yang kayak ini okay nggak?"

We also arranged for some praying carpets to be bought and placed in Pak Kuwu’s house since the house is always used by the villagers to perform Eid prayers. This is because the mosque nearby is not big enough to accommodate the whole population of Desa Sukasetia.

Late in the evening, our team leader was accompanied by Pak Kuwu to mosques in Kecamatan Cisayong to distribute al-Quran and reading materials as donation.


Day 6 : Anak-anak SD

6th of August 2010

Customarily, the women in Desa Sukasetia will have al-Quran classes at the mosque near Pak Kuwu’s house before Friday prayers. Thus, we took the chance to have a farewell meeting with the villagers at the mosque. Pak Kuwu delivered his speech (in both Sundan dialect and formal Indonesian language to help us understand) explaining to the people about us and our mission.

Pak Kuwu

Following that, our team representative, Thaqifah gave such a heartwarming farewell speech to the villagers to thank their hospitalities and wish them well.

"Masing-masing ni gak mau balik.."

The villagers

After another eight mosques have received donations from us, this was the last one to receive some sincere gifts from us comprising of al-Quran, hadith books, al-Quran with translation, Seerah books and others donated books that we have gathered.

Your donation through our hands

Next, we straight away carried on with health education session or also known as ‘Penyuluhan Kesihatan’ at the SD. Our objective was to instill in the students the way of healthy lifestyle. We taught them how to brush their teeth and hands properly, when and why, and also talked about safety precautions and the importance of healthy nutrition. We actually planned to do this activity by combining students of class 1 and 2; class 3 and 4; class 5 and 6; so there would be 3 groups in total. This was to avoid any inefficiency in handling the students. Nevertheless due to some miscommunications, it turned out to be 2 groups of students; a group of class 1 students and another group consisting of all students from class 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Praises be to God we managed to deal with the changes appropriately and of course with the teachers’ assistance, we also finished on time before the school bell rang.

The Year 1 SD students

"Next, rub around your wrist like this."

"Sabar itu indah dek, jangan rebut.."

When the instructor herself 'brushes' her teeth

Yes, good girl :)

Exciting and obliging SD students

the happy faces

Before the end of the session, the students were given one goodie-bag each as a token of love from us. Another school nearby (SD) was chosen to receive some donations from us in the form of teaching materials, gift for the school children and some goodie bags special for the orphans. Overall, we have distributed teaching materials to school libraries of 2 primary schools (SD) and 1 secondary school (SMP).

Upon returning home, we arranged for a farewell gathering with BSMI representatives namely Dr Husen (General Leader for Tasikmalaya) and Pak Asep (Secretary). Both Dr Husen and Pak Asep were actually in a rush to a location where landslide and flood had just occurred. So, we grabbed every chance we had to discuss more in depth about the role of BSMI and hence acquired a clearer insight of this organization. Before we parted, our team leader handed over a token of thoughts and appreciation from our team in the form of a framed group photo.

Pak Kuwu and BSMI (Dr. Husen and Pak Asep Budiawan)

After Maghrib prayers, we paid a final visit to Dr. Asep’s house to hand over the extra medicines during circumcision and also another framed group photo to show our appreciation.

Our framed group photo for Puskesmas

With Dr. Asep Hermana and Family


Day 7 : Salam kasih sayang

7th of August 2010

Final day in Indonesia. We woke up early in the morning to a very sad atmosphere in Pak Kuwu’s house. During the approximately one-week stay, the bond created between us was so strong that we left the place heavy-heartedly. But we left, promising ourselves to try our best to keep in touch with the Tasikmalayans and lend our hands whenever possible, insyaALLAH.

Prepared by :

Fasihah Mohd Sofian

Secretary of

Tasikmalaya Relief Mission 2010 team