|Real Madrid’s soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (right) poses with Martunis in Bali on Wednesday. (JP/Anggara Mahendra)
This is the Acehnese boy, a survivor of the 2004 Aceh tsunami, now 15, who was dragged out to sea and swept into a mangrove swamp. Wearing a red and green Portuguese soccer jersey with Ronaldo’s name on it, Martunis survived on puddle water and dried noodles and was rescued 19 days later and reunited with his father and grandfather.
His story attracted European media attention. In 2008, Ronaldo visited him in Aceh and financed his education.
It was a sweet and unexpected reunion between world soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and Martunis on Wednesday.
Ronaldo, nicknamed CR7, came to the resort island as an ambassador for the Mangrove Care Forum Bali. He joined in with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to plant mangroves at Telaga Waja, Benoa Bay. The area is part of the 1,373-hectare Ngurah Rai People’s Forest Park, the largest mangrove forest in Bali and an area that suffers from severe pollution, deforestation and littering.
The forum is expected to involve local communities in the clean up and creation of a safe environment for plants and marine life.
Ronaldo said: “I’m not paid [for being an ambassador]. I am doing this because I like to help the people, the children, the Earth and I think it’s great.”
Source: TheJakartaPost..Mangrove project reconnects Ronaldo and tsunami survivor