- Graeme Killen
- Jhon Koppa
- Saijer Ketkliang (Pon)
- Ivonne Suryana
six day start-up
and friends brainstorm ideas and prepare an outline plan for the
project. The thinking is that if the local fishermen see some action
starting - if they can see boats on dry land in for repairs, hear
the saws and hammers from the repair project - they might start
to think more about getting their own boats back into service. If
a small spark of life can be established in a very conspicuous place,
it might attract a few more who, in turn might attract a few more.
If a critical mass of activity and optimism can be achieved, it
could influence enough people that it might start a wave of interest
in returning to life throughout the village. At the very least,
it will get a few boats built and get a few of the fishermen who
are ready to begin to get back on the water and making a living.
temporary dwelling (a rented garage/shop) is further utilized by
being put into service as the project office as well as living quarters
for all four founders.
arranges for the use of a prime piece of land where boats will be
built and repaired. She also contacts one of the village leaders
(Ao Po Tao) to inform him about the project. Pon's brother-in-law
makes banner signs for the project to be strung in front of both
the office and the sea side work area.
are made with the Thai Army to clear debris and flatten a work area
on the land with their heavy equipment. A potential donor requests
that some boats be brought onto the site as evidence that something
is really happening - to show that it's not just a nice idea but
a functional project. The word is put out and several fishermen
agree to tow their boats tomorrow when the high tide will allow
them to get to shore.
decide we'd better wake up early and get over to meet the Army crew
first thing in the morning to make sure they don't get diverted
by another project of higher priority. We arrive at their headquarters
at 8:30am to find nobody around. Turns out they were already at
our site looking for us! The project area is cleared of broken concrete,
trees and other heavy debris and then graded level. Two boat launch
areas are also graded.
- The fishermen miscalculate the high tide and no boats show up
at the work area. It has been 6 weeks since they have last been
on the water and they have lost touch with the rhythm of the sea.
fishermen catch the tides and 8 boats arrive in tow for repairs.
The Thai Marine Department brings in a large crane and all 8 boats
are pulled out of the mud and put onto the dry land of the repair
Swedish press entourage covers the story and the lifting of the
Volunteer workers stop by - they have heard about the project and
have committed to provide a large shelter structure for building
team of 20 Korean relief workers clean rubble, stone and loose debris
from the work area by hand. The work area becomes one of the first
pieces of land to become restored and habitable.
- Nine monks from Bangkok perform a ceremony at the freshly prepared
work site to bring a good future for the fishermen and the project.
At the end of the day a small bit of life has returned to Nam Kem
the help from the Tsunami Volunteer's Center in Khao Lak (28 KM
down the road) a shipyard style work shed has been constructed.
Tsunami Fishermen's Relief Fund has received enough private donations
to acquire the tools, construction site, sheltered work area and
timber to commence work. The start-up work crew of 5-6 carpenters
is working full time repairing the boats that have been brought
into the yard. Roland Selzer (Germany) signs on to perform fund-raising
strategies and assume miscellaneous director's tasks. Work begings
to create the TFRF web site.
We received our first significant international donation and another
large contribution of cash for timber from the Ao Nang Divers at
the Krabi-Seaview Resort. On March 2 we saw the launch of the first
boat repaired back to the water. As repairs to the other salvaged
boats advances, we are beginning the transition to construction
of new boats and searching for more qualified carpenters to expand
our production capacity. Good boatsmiths are becoming more difficult
to find as other areas start to employ all available tradespeople
in a wave of rebuilding that is finally getting underway throughout
the country now. Working in a triangle among three continents, Ivonne
in Indonesia assembles text and photos sent by Jhon and Moira in
Thailand which are then sent to an internet server back in Madison,
WI. USA and the TFRF.org web site is assembled, refined and up and
running under its own domain.
18 boats have been repaired and returned to the water and construction
has begun on 2 new boats. Timber prices have doubled in recent weeks
as boat construction projects have gotten underway along the entire
west coast of Thailand, creating huge market pressures on the cost
of new wood. The cost to build new boats has increased by approximately
70% because of wood shortages and the strategy of buying used boats
from other areas of Thailand not affected by the Tsunami is explored.
14 , 2005:
A large international relief organization has approached the Tsunami
Fishermen's Relief Fund suggesting they may be interested in taking
over the operation of the program.