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TESOL in Aceh and Nias

The early morning school bus, not sure about loading capacity though!

This is ‘Das’ heading out to his fishing ground.

Aceh and Nias

A Tribute to the People of Aceh and Nias

I seem to have always had the name of Mixed Moss lurking in the back of my mind as I have rolled around the world over the last twenty years or so, dwelling on all sorts of mixed thoughts.

In 1995 I was in the back blocks of Sumatra in an archipelago of 92 islands, called Banyak, many of these were uninhabited off the north west coast.

I befriended a fishing family with small children and wonder now if there is any chance that they survived the Tsunami? There is absolutely no possible way for me to check. This really underscores the simplicity of their lives. No phone, no email and a perilous postal service. A family such as this would quite likely never have received a letter by mail.

This is Sinini she was around nine years old when this was taken in 1995. A lovely little girl, full of fun.


Her Grand Mother, Mother and Aunt are pictured top right, dressed ready to go ‘shopping’ on the nearby main Island.

It makes one appreciate very much the ordinary people and the friendly welcomes, as well as the outright generosity that I have encountered in many years of ‘traveling local’ from persons who are often desperately poor themselves yet have a generosity of spirit way beyond what we encounter in the so called developed world.

Before discussing anything to do with TESOL and it certainly is a ‘Ticket To Travel’ I’d like to share just a few images of the very many that I have collected in Indonesian villages as I have shared time, rice and conversation with those living there. This is the only tangible tribute that I can make to those I knew in North West Sumatra on the Banyak Archipelago living at sea level as their families have always done in the past.

And now NIAS!!!

You can see from my hand drawn map that I travelled from Banyak to Nias by local small boat. It was an all night journey to avoid pirates! Nias I remember as well kept, quiet and supremely friendly. I lived there for a short time and taught English to several secondary students who were working in the local Library on what we would call ‘Work Experience’

Again I have no way of knowing if they survived but the memory of their daily good humour and the outright joy of living in each of them makes me hope for a miracle on their several behalves. TESOL really does open so many doors and cements friendships with wonderful people all of whom want to learn for the sake of a better life style. Not all of my travels bring back such bitter sweet memories, but in the current set of circumstances, where off the coast of Sumatra in Banyak and Nias I enjoyed so much friendship, I want to record my deep sadness for the people that befriended me so readily.

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