Visiting Lombok – Real Life Devastation
On Monday, August 13th 2018, I flew to Lombok, Indonesia, a small island that was struck by a giant 7.0 earthquake the week prior. I am not sure why, but something inside of me told me I absolutely had to fly to this island to see in person what was really happening.
I will back up. A week prior, I was out to eat with a friend when the earthquake struck. When it hit in Lombok, we immediately felt the intense rumbling in Bali. In fact, it was so strong here that everyone started screaming and running outside into the street. It was quite chaotic to say the least.
Flash forward to the aftermath. As each day since the quake passed, more news about the casualties and number of people homeless started to rise at a rapid rate. On social media, groups began forming to help with the disaster relief aid, and pictures started to go viral from survivors. During this time, I got connected with two families in particular whom have lost everything. They shared their stories with me and sent me pictures of the reality of the situation. Throughout the rest of the week, I felt more and more compelled to visit the victims, and soon made the decision to go.
After I settled on my decision (but was quite nervous to say the least), everything completely fell into place for me to visit Lombok. I received a free ride to and from the airport, had transportation in Lombok, my flight was covered, and I was not charged for my over-weight luggage, filled completely with donations. I was also in contact with people whom have donated supplies and money. I was meant to go.
Upon arrival, a dive instructor, Hifan, and his friend picked me up. Both men had lost their entire homes. The two had grown up together in Lombok, and they were a few of the lucky ones not injured when the disaster hit. Prior to the quake, Hifan was a snorkel instructor on the beautiful Gili islands. Hifan is the father of two beautiful girls and has a lovely wife, all of whom I had the privilege of meeting.
I later found out that Hifan drove over two hours to pick me up, and we drove another two back to where his family was currently residing. The drive was beyond heartbreaking. As we made our way further and further away from the airport, the destruction and poverty got worse. Homes, buildings, stores were completely crumbled to the ground. People were laying under makeshift tarp tents, and dust filled the streets. It was quite a devastating sight.
Our first stop was to see Hifan’s family. They were lovely! And to my amazement, despite losing everything, they were in good spirits. They even offered me food (which of course I declined). I was in true amazement of the human spirit during the worst of conditions.
After handing out some supplies to Hifan’s wife, we picked up another westerner (Daniel from the UK) and made a trek into the jungle to see one of the camps. Now I must say, Daniel is a true angel. He had been in Lombok for three days, spending time with the families on the camp site. His spirit and energy were helping heal those around him.
As we drove deeper into the jungle, I was in awe on how beautiful and lush the island of Lombok is. The water is crystal clear, there are palm trees galore, and the most breathtaking waterfalls filled the land. It felt quite ironic during such a time of devastation.
When we made our way into the villages, I was heartbroken. Every single home and building had collapsed to the ground. This included: schools, churches, mosques, hospitals, and stores. Everything was demolished. It was a hard (but necessary) sight to see. People were living in little tents, and there was a group of children in “school” learning under a tarp. Food and blankets were scarce. While I provided some donations to the group, I felt so small. How can I help make more of an impact? How can I create more awareness? It really was a tough day.
As I made my way back to the airport, I had so much on my mind. At this moment, a wave of emotion rushed over me, this is when my day in Lombok really hit me. It was a lot to take it. I have to do SOMETHING, I just didn’t know what. I decided to start small and do what I know how to do – throw events and bring awareness.
With that being said, I will definitely go back, but I cannot do this alone. If we all work together, no matter how big or small, we can help make a difference.
I am selling T-shirts where proceeds go towards the families in Lombok. I am also accepting donations to buy supplies and food for those in need. I am working hand in hand with some awesome people here in Bali to create a charity event, which will be posted on my site shortly.
But for now, if you wish to make a small donation, please find the GoFundMe link HERE, as well as a LINK to my shirts. Please do not hesitate to reach out to learn more about the quake, and/or how you can help in general.
Thank you for your support! <3
I just loved these kids! Where there is darkness, there is always light.