Interview with a Tsunami Orphan – The Story of Fandi

Banda Aceh, Indonesia.  Fandi, his parents, his sister, and his two brothers tried to outrun the wave, but all but he and his sister were washed away.

Fandi was carried three miles by the wave, was deposited on a mountaintop to be discovered two days later, at which point he was rescued and placed in an Indonesian government-run refugee camp. A very distant relative took his sister, but refused to take him.

Teaching the boys of Orphans International Worldwide how
to clean their bathroom after the Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia

“I’m glad to have this new home that is clean and cool and comfortable,” Fandi explained through a staff interpreter. “The refugee camp was really hot and we had canned sardines every day. Here we have great food. I love school…

I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but maybe a farmer. My father was a fisherman,” Fandi” explained. “I would like to plant rice,” he added with a twinkle in his eye.

“I like my new home because I have many friends now,” he said. “I also like the color white because it is very clean,” he stated. “And I pray five times a day (like all children in Aceh do), although I cannot read Arabic yet,”

Fandi confessed with some embarrassment. Fandi is now receiving medical attention because of his condition resulting from swallowing so much dirty Tsunami salt water.

He completed the fourth grade on schedule, being driven to his original school from our orphanage every day, and now attends fifth grade at the local school.

Originally published in Blogspot, April 4, 2008.

About Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens

View all posts by Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce ( writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (, he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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