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Saving Lives, Bridging Cultures

The Norwegian team leader, Helge Haaverstad, shined a flashlight into one of the holes. "Can you see this light?" he asked.

"Yes," Ronzero replied.


On the Indonesian island of Nias, family members grieve at the funeral of a relative killed by a massive earthquake. (Beawiharta -- Reuters)

"Is there anything there?"

"No, nothing," Ronzero said.

They continued digging and probing for another hour. Though more than two days had passed since the quake felled much of downtown Gunungsitoli, relief workers were still finding survivors.

Around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, the Norwegian-Spanish U.N. team located a 13-year-old boy alive after he'd been trapped for 52 hours.

But at this other house, they were not so lucky. At 5:30, the team decided to call things off. "We've been in this way, we've been in the other way. We've searched two bedrooms, we've searched the hallways, and we haven't heard anything," Lingjerde said. "I think the search is over."

Rusli Willis, the father of Johan, stood at the far end of the collapsed tile floor. He had lost his wife, mother and father in the tragedy. A five-year-old son survived.

Disheveled and distraught, Willis repeated Bible verses to calm himself as he waited to see if his other son would be found.

Earlier, Rusli's brother Indra asked one of the American volunteers why they were here. "Because we care," replied Bill Sears, a 65-year-old pediatrician from Southern California.

Later, Sears said he meant it. "If we can't bring his family back to life, it's the least we can do -- show we care."


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