The wind was perfect, the sun was shining, and the people in West Sumatra, Indonesia, were eager to start their kite competition. This kite-flying event used to be held on an annual basis, sparking friendly competition between 11 villages in the township of Tandikat.
However, after the horrific tsunami in 2004 and then a deadly set of earthquakes two years ago, the event had been cancelled. Thanks to the efforts of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), the people once again had a reason to celebrate.
CRWRC responded to the 2004 tsunami under the program name “GenAssist.” When a massive earthquake hit Sept. 30, 2009, followed by smaller earthquakes and a series of landslides, CRWRC was already there and quickly sent staff and volunteer International Relief Managers to assess the situation and begin a response. Eighteen months later, that $2.2 million response was complete.
A weeklong celebration of the completion of CRWRC’s earthquake response provided an opportunity for the community to finally come together to restart their annual kite competition.
Community members flew more than 100 kites that day, most of which were artfully decorated with the names of GenAssist or CRWRC, along with words or phrases such as “Thank You” and “Memories.” Each kite was made of paper stretched over a thin bamboo or wood frame. The kite that stayed up longest was declared the winner.
“They flew incredibly high!” said Wayne de Jong, director of International Disaster Relief for CRWRC.