March 19, cont.


In the bus again, I felt sad as we pulled away from the orphanage. We drove down the coast to the more affected tsunami disaster areas. The further south we went the greater the destruction. There were red cross tents scattered around. so much clean up work had been done, some houses were being rebuilt. Red Cross tents are light colored canvas with the Red Cross on them. They look like 8 man tents, thick ropes and wooden stakes anchoring them down.

There were still some broken fishing boats scattered around maybe 100 meters from the shore line. The boats are colorful here, blues, reds, yellow wooden deep hulled fishing boats. Old nets scattered around.

Every time we get out of the bus people come to us young, old, weak, strong, children with smiles, adults with vacant eyes.

We stop at a Red Cross camp in Hicadu, I am told by one of the women in this village that 700 people from this area perished. Leaving many children and parents, friends and neighbors totally broken hearted. We had planned on administering medical care and giving out supplies, that is what group 1 had done. But now the camp is more organized and all supplies are being handled by the Buddhist monks at the temple. so we give them some supplies, and walk around that village. a woman gets my attention she is very friendly, and speaks a little English. She takes a few of us to her new home. There are many of temporary structures. Small cabin like, 5x5 meters, an entry way, no door and no windows, there are made out of rough cut 2x4s. This lady Priada, has a son and daughter. Her and her husband had a small grocery store. Now they have a wooden table with a few items for sale, lemon puff cookies (one of my new down falls), coca cola, small containers of laundry soap, hand soap, something that looks like beef jerky(scary) and a few brooms. She shows us her destroyed home, water completely engulfed it, the roof has collapsed in many areas as did the cement walls, she is so grateful not to have lost any of her family. She tells me they had a warning, the police came through with bull horn saying to run to the temple, which is on higher ground. So she grabbed her children and ran, just in time.

Out of no where a young boy shows up with ice cream cones for sale and Evan buys some for 100+ people.

A truck was there at the temple delivering food rations. They were in plastic grocery bag, white with Singhalese writing on it. There was a big bag of rice, a few canned goods, spaghetti noodles just to name a few. Apparently there items were donated by foreign aid agencies, Australians, Japanese and others. This truck was packed full, maybe 2000 bags, we formed 2 lines, yellow shirts and Sri Lankans, more women and a few men. We very quickly passed the bags from one another and emptied the truck in 20 minutes. It was a very rewarding experience, working side by side with everyone, laughing and cheering. Moments like these just don't come easily, it made me feel unity and commonness with people that are so far away and so different from us, but still so much the same.
Back in the bus, down the road just a short way, police cars and a line of new vehicles pass us, it was a group of officials from Vietnam. We are approaching the area where 2000 people were killed on the train. Somberness is heavy in the air, people are quiet, the rail tracks have been replaced and 3 cars of the train are back on the track. I believe as a memorial, faded red cars, dented, smashed, very eery, the train was old it reminded me of a train I saw on the movie Shawshank Redemption. I wondered where all the people were going so early on a Sun. morning. Who were they?

We talked to some Sri Lankans, people who had lost family on the train 4 ladies each had lost several fathers, husbands, sisters and children. I talked to an 11 yr old boy who lost his 4 and 7 yr old sisters. What they said was as the warnings came they ran to the train thinking it was higher ground.

Back to the bus for a long ride to the farm.