Six years after the internationally monitored Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) and the Indonesian government, and seven years after the devastating tsunami off the coast of Sumatra, I traveled on "Aceh US-Indonesia 1," the rebuilt west coast highway funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This is a story that investigates the intersection of physical devastation from a natural disaster and social deconstruction from 30 years of civil war and violence. On a very basic level, reconstruction encompasses the recovery and rebuilding the physical damage that is outwardly visible. On a deeper level, the concept of reconstruction includes rebuilding the intangible: society. Can these two forms of reconstruction occur at the same time? Can a massive act of physical reconstruction spur social healing in the aftermath of conflict?
I have featured a selection of images from my project below (Masters Thesis at Boston University). Full thesis available upon request. All images © Jill Foley, not to be reproduced without request.