Ni Komang Erviani , Contributor , The Jakarta Post, Badung | Tue, 12/09/2008 11:44 AM | Bali
Dozens of family members and relatives gathered at the Ngurah Rai Airport on Sunday to gratefully welcome the safe return home of five Balinese who survived the recent terror attack in Mumbai, India, inside the Trident Oberoi hotel.
Tears and hugs replaced words as the five – Anak Agung Komang Triastina Dewi, Ni Luh Gede Mahendrayani, Gusti Ayu Putu Sri Rahayu, Ni Komang Sri Arini and Ni Kadek Edi Darmayanti – who worked as spa therapists at the hotel, were reunited with their beloved families. The groups return home was facilitated by the Oberoi hotel and the Indonesia consulate general in India.
“I am so glad I have returned safely,” Triastina Dewi, 21, said with tears running down her cheeks.
Dewi, a resident of Yeh Embang village in Jembrana, said she and the other four Balinese, who had worked in the hotel since January, were having dinner in their room on the 10th floor when they heard an explosion. They thought it came from firecrackers at a wedding party downstairs.
After realizing that the explosion was actually a bomb and terrorists were storming the building, they rushed to another room, along with the wife of a hotel chef and her six-month-old baby.
“We hid in the room for 36 hours and just grabbed whatever we could drink and eat until the Indian Army rescued us. We were so frightened at that time…,” Triastina Dewi said, recounting the horrifying ordeal.
The terrorists targeted 10 prominent public places in Mumbai, including two five-star hotels, a crowded train station, a popular restaurant and a Jewish center. At least 172 people were killed.
Although the terror attack traumatized most of the Balinese, it will not stop them from working abroad again.
“If there is an opportunity to work abroad again, why not?” Ayu, who has worked in the United States, Spain and Palau, said.
Anak Agung Kade Wijaya, Dewi’s father, said he had prepared a Hindu religious ritual to improve the mental condition of his youngest daughter.
Also present at the airport was Komang Rai Sudjaka, head of Bali Manpower and Transmigration Agency and I Gusti Ngurah Mertayadnya, an office manager of PT Bina Adi Mandiri, the company that arranged for the five therapists to work at the Oberoi hotel.
“They can go back to work in India if they want to and when they are ready. The demand for spa therapists from Bali is still high,” Mertayadnya said, adding that 20 positions were currently available in India.