Rebuilding Banda Aceh

A photography expedition

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Settling in

It’s been a lot of ups and downs so far. Mostly because a lot of the photographs we are trying to recreate, now have things built around them and trees have grown like crazy in the years since the tsunami. We are over joyed to tell you that this is because Aceh has rebuilt and is thriving once again. We are still taking the photos, and it should be a huge testament to the resilience and beauty of a global community working together. 

Yesterday, we attended a international folklore dance festival at a local park. Once people found out we were from America, the cameras began to emerge from pockets and purses in hopes of snapping a photo of/with us.  Chris got tugged aside and interviewed by the local news station here in Banda Aceh, while Becca was asked for her facebook information by complete strangers. There are a couple friend requests waiting in her mailbox…. Our amazing guide and friend, Khairil, was getting quite a laugh out of it all. 

We are getting used to the food here, as spicy and questionable as it may be at times. Sort of like a guessing game every time we are at a restaurant. 

Laughing at ourselves is easy here. We don’t speak the language, and most people don’t speak English. But we are becoming good friends with Khairil, who has been a life saver for this trip, and we told his daughter, Kalya (4 yrs old), that our camera mic was a telephone, which made for some really adorable video footage and a belly aching laugh.

Tomorrow we are going to head out to Sabang (Pulau Weh) which is an island famous for it’s scuba diving and snorkeling. It’s been said that many tourists plan to only stay for a couple days, but end up extending their trip after seeing the island. It will be a good break from the long, long days we have been putting in. We get up at 6:00AM and typically stay up until 11PM, many times skipping meals because we are in transit between photo locations. We have learned what drinks are good here, and one that I’ve been getting is called “Pocari Sweat.” It’s a joke between Khairil, Chris and I since “Sweat” is pronounced “Sweet,” but it is overwhelmingly sugar-y and honestly tastes a little like it’s name.

We are off to divide and conquer the 2000 photos we have taken thus far. For now, here are some photographs from a fish market and a rice field yesterday. Everyone at the fish market was thrilled about our cameras and it was a big deal for them to be able to have their portrait taken.

Until next time, my friends.


Our guide, Khairil, works for the Indonesian Red Cross, so we got to hang out at his office for a couple hours. Super VIP style with badges. 

Chris videoing by a rice field in a little village near Lam Iseik. 

This guy really, realllllly wanted to take photos with each of us. Fish market.