May 19, 2005 Comments Off on Hope

On the Galle Road, Sri Lanka

It’s hard to make a trip down the Galle Road south of Colombo without taking some time to reflect on the devastating tsunami damage. Seeing post-tsunami pictures last December made one feel sad, for certain. But, like all media inspired sadness, it was a feeling that lacked depth. Driving by, and walking in, the rubble that remains all along the Galle Road brought depth.


With the depth came a ghostly kind of sadness. Walking around, it felt like – I imagine – a walk through Pompeii after the lava hardened or Nagasaki when people’s images were burned into the pavement. Empty, still, devastating. Looking at the remains of a kitchen counter, with cooking implements and cleaning bottles still in the lower cupboards, I could imagine someone standing there as the waves hit. It could see and feel the ghosts.


Yes, looking up and around the damage, there was also hope to be had. Across the road from the remains of the kitchen, half a dozen boys were playing volley ball (right beside a closed-on-Sunday ICTA telecentre, strangely enough). Despite the slow pace of rebuilding, there were still laughing, playing, chatting. As we talked to them, it was clear that they still felt and honoured the ghosts, but that they didn’t think this should get in the way of celebrating life.

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