Leizel's email on May 28 almost shook the SEAPA fellows dispatched to different parts of Southeast Asia for the one month coverage of their proposed stories in the second country of their choice. In Malaysia, I was wondering why Leizel--the third fellow from the Philippines dispatched to Indonesia--felt she was "so blessed to be alive." On her email, the story began to unfold.
"When I left Baguio (for the SEAPA fellowship), I told myself I’m going for an adventure of a lifetime. And I guess I got what I was looking for - to be right in the middle of a disaster while writing my story. Jogja was in chaos a few hours before I left last Saturday. People were crying and running in the streets, thinking that a tsunami would follow. I really thought it was the end of me. (I just amused myself with the thought that my mother would get an insurance money after I die. Hehe!). Bantul in Southern Jogja, was the most hardly hit. I was there the whole day on Thursday, two days before the earthquake struck.
As I was riding on a taxi to Solo, I realized that good people are everywhere. And they appear when you need them most. I met Moslems and Christians (3 Catholics and 2 Evangelicals) who generously gave their time to make my stay in Jogja meaningful. Eventhough it was my first time to meet all of them, they took a lot of effort to make sure I would leave Jogja fast. Well, I just couldn’t imagine myself dying in a foreign country with nobody to identify my body."
We read the rest of the story in the headline stories of that day. Leizel emails on to say that these Merapi shots were taken by Purwani Prabandari ("Dari"), one of Tempo's editors with whom she stayed with in Jakarta. Purwani took the pictures from Klaten, her hometown.