Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
In the face of despair
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
On 26 December 2004 an earthquake occurred just off the coast of Indonesia. The
quake, the most powerful for 40 years, triggered a series of deadly waves, which
fanned out across the Indian Ocean. At least 200,000 people in coastal areas
from Somalia to Sumatra were killed and many millions left destitute.
shares his thoughts some few days after that terrible
Sea is Coming In
I am 32
Sunday morning I was asleep. There was a party
at the hotel where I worked on Christmas
day, and I was tired.
My sister and brother were outside when the first
wave hit. They
ran, shouting 'The sea is coming in'. We
got up and ran for our lives.
One of my neighbours is an old woman. We carried
her with us. Since that day we've been living
at a refugee camp in church.
is what remains of my house. It's the second
house from the sea, which is why a part
of it still stands. Even now I cannot imagine
how we survived.
A young girl lived in the house next to mine. We were good friends, growing
up together. Unable to get away, she drowned. It's still hard to believe.
have lived in this house since the day I was
told we must relocate. It is no longer safe
I do not know where we will go. I cannot imagine
living anywhere else. We've had such good times
here, my parents, brother, sister and I.
Sundays were especially good as we had a large
family lunch. But last Sunday is a day I
would like to forget.
I do not know how to describe the feeling of
loosing all that one possesses. We are not
a very rich
family. I work in a hotel. The salary is good
but not lavish.
But we were happy.
We had everything we needed - cloths, a small
television. It was only a four room house but
It was home.
There were only 16 houses in my neighbourhood,
all built close to the sea. We had a wonderful
community, All of us knew each other and we
lived and played together.
We never fought or envied our neighbours. I
often played cricket on the beach with my friends
the neighbourhood. We always helped each other
in times of need.
Now our community is destroyed. I don't think
we can recreate this place anywhere else.
have always lived by the sea. It was our
friend and provider. But now it frightens
me. Earlier, the sound of waves were like
music to my ears. Now I have nightmares of
waves crashing into my home and taking us
But despite everything, I still love the
sea. I am an Islander - I can never run too
far from the ocean.
I live far, far away from
that place, and before long, talk is of other
things. The chatter of the media slows to crawling
pace. The news is said. It is easy to forget, to
pretend all is well.
mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles,
these still need our help...
International in their efforts
to find lasting solutions to poverty,
hunger, and injustice.
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