I will be doing a 10 day stint with Save the Children in Aceh at some point in the next 10-15 weeks or so, but after that would be interested in volunteering in India. I agree, the first push of aid is tremendous, but the medium term needs will be at least as substantial. Just think of how many orphaned children there will be-I am a pediatrician, by the way. Please keep me in mind. I know others here who are just wanting to pitch in, but volunteer access to Aceh has not been substantial. For housebuilding, there are active habitat for humanity groups at many of the international schools in the region, maybe even in Chennai...or certainly Delhi.
Aceh is open to foreigners for now, but I have a feeling that once the initial clean up and needs are met, the government might close it again. It all depends on the success of the "cease fire."
I tried to post this morning, Carolyn, to answer your question about NGO work, etc, but Momrath summarized very nicely. One of the most interesting people I know doing this sort of work is a facilities engineer-- he has even worked in North Korea. I agree with Momrath, these individuals are well educated, passionate but calm, good humored but serious, patient but eager, open minded...It is a personality type as much as the academic interest that defines them. Brown has an undergraduate major in development work. The girl who gave us our tour was planning to major in it. We asked why she hadn't gone far afield for the summer, and she answered that she wanted to be closer to home. I wonder if she knows that a sense of wanderlust is also a key element...
As an aside, a friend in Bangkok who summers in Encinatas has emailed me and told me that she had heard I was fine from someone who is on/reads these forums...small world. Small world.