Yesterday, I wired over $11,000 of your donations from this site directly to the farmers in Sumatra. As you may have heard, the Indonesian government is not allowing foreign aid workers to go outside of Banda Aceh city into the surrounding countryside without military escort. The formal reason is that the aid workers would not be safe from the GAM (Free Aceh) rebels who have been fighting for independence or greater autonomy from Jakarta for thirty years (following on top of the Acehnese one hundred year resistance to Dutch rule). The GAM has declared a ceasefire and welcomed any foreign aid, but the government does not accept this. So the government gets to control who gets foreign aid and who doesn't - go along with us and you get aid, don't go along with us, no aid. I'm sorry, but this is all too often what governments do both during disasters and during "ordinary" times. Anyway, because our farmers are Indonesian, not foreign, they can go into those areas pretty much at will. And that's just what they are doing. They are taking the aid directly to the people they know need it most, and who are out of the reach of the big aid agencies at this point. What a miracle! This morning I got a letter from Lucia, the general manager of the Forestrade/PPKGO project, and a good friend who has stayed at our house and shopped for her daughters using my girls as fashion consultants. Here's Lucia's letter ("Pak" is a respectful word for us elder types):
Dear Pak Dean,
Lots of organic love from your friends in Aceh. We are feeling so touched about your love and your efforts to collect more and more organic loves from all over the world. Today, we received the money you sent to PPKGO donation account and I scanned the receipt (see attached). The fund has been sent to Medan and our FT Medan is now organizing to buy all needs and will load them into trucks. Our PPKGO team will be coming to Medan to pick-up the trucks and will accompany the trucks to Aceh to all refugees villages. Report and pictures will follow Pak Dean. Please convey our thanks to all people who have supported us. I believe that GOD will reciprocate their kindness.
Best regards, Lucia