TUE, Nov 10, 2009

November 8th, 2009, 10:30 AM.
At Banda Aceh in Indonesia right on the equator
In Tsunami park, a ship was swept 5 kilometers inland by the 2004 tsunami.
Over 100 children of Junior Red Cross,
Red Cross of Indonesia (PMI) and from other countries,
and a lot of people had heard about today.
Amidst the silence which was broken only by the wind, as many people gathered at this symbolic place of hope on a Merry sunday, a lot of children's smiling umbrellas blossomed opened.

1) A wave of smiles rises under the fervent sun.
We went there with 100 smiling umbrellas.
Though we'd had contact with a lot of e-mails and phone calls before, we were still unconfident about doing this project.
Withthe cooperation of many people, we decided the flaming, the place of the ceremony and how to put the umbrellas and so on...
Because of the rehearsal we met children of Junior Red Cross for the first time on the day before the ceremony.
Then we cleaned up the park and did our best to flatten out the rugged,washed out land with sand.
With the feeling like we haven't completed our work, we were finally face to face with Merry Umbrella Project Day.

An elaborate rehearsal took place again that day, and then it was time for the ceremony!
The MC gave an opening speech, followed by an explanatory speech by Merry Project.
Let's transform this ship of despair into a ship of hope!
Afterwards, PMI's representative gave a message on Aceh's future along with their remarks on this project.
The smiling umbrellas were then handed over from Merry to PMI, from PMI to the Junior Red Cross' representative, who proclaimed aloud the feeling of gratitude for all the support given for reviving Aceh after the tsunami, along with a message for the future.
The young representative descended down the stairs and got in position.

It's time

Enveloped by the sea wind,
the ever-shining sun,
and the eyes of the onlookers.

With the young representative's signal,
on the ship's first and second step, flowers swiftly blossomed.
Continued by the seats on the second deck, flowers swiftly blossomed.
Followed by the ground, studded with smiles, flowers swiftly blossomed.

Smiling flowers filled the Tsunami Park like a wave.
It was really as if celebrating the setting sail of a ship of hope.

For a moment, time stopped.

2) Smiles that connect, communication that surpasses national boundaries
From the now fully-bloomed Tsunami Park came cheering and applause.
The children bearing the umbrellas also seemed so happy!
Afterwards, we begun moving under the ship for the second scene.

In the second scene, 3 children from the Junior Red Cross expressed their Merry messages .
"Green for Aceh!" "Hope for Aceh!" "Peace for Aceh!"
Then after changing formations, they opened the smiling umbrellas once again.
We shuddered with emotion, wondering if this beautiful sight was reality.
In the midst of unbroken applause, we called for a final photograph together.
Along with all the guests and staff, we gathered and took a picture together.

We gifted Merry sets that included a Merry badge and sticker,
with bottled-water and snacks as a thank-you gift to the Junior Red Cross children who gave their best, even under the blazing heat of the sun.
After that we carried out a photo-shoot in the park.
The children who could move so organized during the ceremony relaxed and gave us a glimpse of their precious smiles.

When we looked back, it was 4 months since the last photo-shooting.
We hope that this won't stop at this project, but may Aceh become the world's symbol of peace.
In the 5th year commemoration of the tsunami in Aceh, the professors of Aceh University in collaboration with PMI plan to have another showing of the umbrellas in Tsunami Shelter, which is a community building.

A great, big thank you to all the PMI members, translators, coordinators, Junior Red Cross members, guests and everyone who were involved in this project!
Aceh forever!

Now wait till the next MERRY COLUMN!


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