Soaring From the Adversity of Life

Soaring From the Adversity of Life

#sahabathabitat What motivates you to persevere in the face of challenging situations? Often, we come across circumstances that can feel overwhelming, especially when we need to overcome such conditions.

It is crucial for survivors of a disaster to endure the physical and psychological challenges posed by the conditions they face. Many of them have lost everything, including their wealth and the lives of their loved ones. However, a significant number of survivors choose to rise above their adversity.

Ms. Nuriyah, a resident of Benjot Village in Cugenang Sub-Regency, Cianjur, had experienced the devastating effects of the Cianjur earthquake. Having spent 32 years of her life in the village, she bore witness to the tragedy. Despite her strong outward appearance, a profound sorrow burdened her shoulders, an anguish that no one could alleviate in the wake of the earthquake.

“I can’t believe it. I used to see this in movies, but now when I’m the one who goes through it, it feels like I don’t know what to do.” Ms. Nuriyah exclaimed as tears streamed down her cheeks. The loss of her son and her home to the earthquake left her without a place to rest her head.

That day, Ms. Nuriyah and her son just woke up from their sleep. Since it was already noon, her child requested to have lunch together while she simultaneously prepared for work. When she was preparing the food, suddenly her child asked for a drink. “It’s like he wants to keep me safe from the place…” Ms. Nuriyah reflected. Yielding to her child’s request, she rose from her seat to fetch their drinks from the kitchen. Little did she know that it would be the last time she would see her child alive and well.

In a blink of an eye, Ms. Nuriyah felt her body violently thrown into the air. Paralyzed and unable to move, she remained unconscious for what felt like 15 minutes. Upon regaining consciousness, a thought crossed her mind, “Perhaps it’s the end of the world.” Yet, even in such dire circumstances, she found solace in the idea of having her child by her side, willing to accept any fate as long as they were together.

Despite her weakened state, Ms. Nuriyah summoned all her strength to free herself from the place where she was buried. Fortunately, a bar protected her head from the collapse, ultimately saving her life. With sheer determination, Ms. Nuriyah managed to escape from the ruins and she immediately got up to find her child’s whereabouts.

Ms. Nuriyah tirelessly spent an entire hour searched through the wreckage of her home. She asked for a help, but it was no use. Everyone’s busy saving the lives of themselves or their family. Everyone was preoccupied with saving themselves and their loved ones. Moreover, her house was situated far from the main road, rendering her shouts unheard by anyone passing by.

Just as Ms. Nuriyah was on the verge of giving up, a person arrived to assist her in searching for her child. Sadly, by the time they found the child, it was already too late—her little one had passed away. Overwhelmed by grief, Ms. Nuriyah lost consciousness upon witnessing the lifeless state of her child’s body. When she regained consciousness, she found herself unable to do anything but silently embrace her child’s body. “I fought so hard. I had to raise my child alone. So, when he passed away, it was unimaginable for me to bear. I was accustomed to caring for my sick mother and providing for my child without anyone’s help. I feel utterly lost. Following the earthquake, I fell ill for an entire month…”

Ms. Nuriyah refused to go back to Benjot village for a month due to her trauma. The voice of a car’s engine would remind her of the earthquake.  During her illness, her sister took care of her. When the time came for her to go back to the village to retrieve her remaining belongings, she found herself unable to hold back tears as she gazed upon the very spot where her child had tragically passed away.

After a month had passed and Ms. Nuriyah sensed some improvement in her condition, she returned to her house. “Coming back here,” she reflected, “felt like a rebirth. Like being a newborn again, starting from scratch. Alone, devoid of money or possessions.” Although she frequently experienced a sense of emptiness, she persevered, determined to take care for Api, her only remaining source of solace.

Api is a neighbor who Ms. Nuriyah has come to regard as her own family. Although Api also survived the earthquake, his body was paralysed due to being buried by the ruins. Ms. Nuriyah’s unwavering perseverance stems from her commitment to caring for Apih. He was the first person to lend her a helping hand during her struggles in raising her child. When she saw him lying in the intensive care unit (ICU), she thought to herself, “God, there is still someone who cared for me and my child.” Just as he had once supported her during her time of need, she felt compelled to reciprocate and provide care for him.”

In the midst of her busyness of taking care of Api, Ms. Nuriyah ventured into selling ice cream, placing her products in stalls throughout her village. She recognized that life must go on and understood the importance of fulfilling her daily needs for both her own well-being and that of Api. Determined to overcome her adversity, she firmly believed that Allah had allowed her to undergo this trial in order to bring about something positive in the end.

Ms. Nuriyah is determined to own a house again. While waiting for the moment to arrive, she spent most of her time to clean the ruins of her house. Hence, she was really happy when she receives aid in the form of Emergency Shelter Kits and Wash and Cleaning Kits from Hongkong-SAR, distributed by Habitat for Humanity Indonesia. These kits enable her to clean effectively and efficiently, further uplifting her spirits.

She eagerly anticipates the restoration of Benjot Village to its former state. Ms. Nuriyah hopes that every survivor of the Cianjur earthquake will receive equal aid and support, “It’s my service to others. Hopefully once I’m older, there will be someone who takes care of me like the way I take care of Apih.”