Brick by brick, a family rebuilds after Indonesia’s earthquake

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Central Sulawesi, Indonesia – The bricks do not look like much on their own. Small red lumps in various stages of completion are laid out across the unpaved paths cutting through the work yard like incisions.

Stacked one on top of another, they become wondrous. Neat rows of them, newly minted, are arranged like an elaborate domino trick.

At the centre of the operation is a globulus pyramid, a monument to the runoff that is an unavoidable by-product of brick-making. Once a month, the mound is burned down to the ground.

The epic blaze turns the yard, on the outskirts of the Indonesian city of Sigi, into a spectacle for passing traffic.

Then it is business as usual again. A heavy-haul truck will roll into the yard, as it does every afternoon. The workers will load the platform in a dance of efficient movements while the engine runs.

The 7.5-magnitude earthquake brought her to her knees. The ground shook violently for three minutes. Buildings, shops and homes crumbled. Whole towns collapsed.

The tsunami that followed minutes later swept 700 metres (2,297 feet) inland, leaving in its wake a path of further destruction.

As if following this same path, the truck that leaves the work yard each day now deposits its payload at pit stops throughout the worst-hit districts: building sites in Palu, Sigi, even as far away as Donggala.

The workers at the yard produce some 1,300 bricks a day, which are sold for 700 Indonesian rupiah apiece (around $0.50).

Most clients are people rebuilding their homes, receiving the cargo as gratefully as if the bricks were gold.

Back at the yard, the small workforce cleans up for the day, Aunty Ida patrolling the rows. She does not own this land, at least not in a legal sense. The yard is run cooperatively by her and a few of the workers. Despite this, it is very much her domain.

Her manner is like someone preparing a large family meal, tending to several pots.

The dual disasters seem to have bound the workforce closer. On the periphery of the yard stands a section of ramshackle shelters where five of the workers live with their families. Children use the yard as a thoroughfare, coming to and from school. “It’s full of kids now,” Aunty Ida says, approvingly.

She had been living alone, mourning the recent death of her newborn baby. But since the quake, her brother, Hadi, and his family have moved in. Hadi and his wife, Salina, now work in the brickyard and their 10-year-old son, Alif, attends school nearby.

Aunty Ida and Salina take turns looking after the family’s two-year-old daughter, Nirmata, during the day. Their 12-year-old daughter, Melani, attends a boarding school a short drive away.

source : aljazeera

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