A Joyful Reunion in the Village of 'Smiles'

Prior to the 27 May earthquake, which rocked Yogjakarta province and Central Java provinces on the island of Java, Indonesia, Mursihono lived with her husband and two sons in a modest home in the village of Semail, pronounced ‘smile’, in Bantul district. The family got by on the money she made from selling vegetables at a sidewalk stand and income from her carpenter husband.

Mursihono was preparing rice on the morning of the disaster when earth suddenly started heaving, sending objects crashing to the floor.

“It was a total mess and I was just confused,” she said.

While her family managed to escape a wall had collapsed on her leg, pinning her to the floor. The tremors lasted about a minute, leaving the house in ruins. Her sons then frantically tried to clear the debris to rescue her.

“When I was still trapped under the wall, I didn’t really feel anything, but when my sons found me and moved my body, I felt so much pain,” said Mursihono.

She waited ten hours for help with her family by her side before the police arrived and took her to Bethesda hospital in Yogjakarta, 40 minutes from her village.

For seven days, Mursihono received medical treatment for a fractured leg. 

”All the medical staff in the hospital were kind and attentive. I also ate well. But of course, I still wanted to return home and see my family and neighbours as soon as possible,” she said.

She was discharged from the hospital on 3 June and along with her son who sat by her bedside as she recovered, was returned home with IOM’s assistance.

The sight of her family brought tears to her eyes but the initial joy was short lived as she began to think about the daunting task ahead for her and the new challenges her family now face.

“I don’t know what to do now, but we just hope that there will be help from the government and other organizations like IOM,” she said.