Post our night of fun and my new friends Jose, Sergio and Inma saving me from drunk Sri Lankans and an extreeemely friendly Russian woman, we all got on scooters and made our way home. I held on to Belinda for dear life cause I was on a two wheeler after many many years. We crossed a railway line and then entered a forest feel place.. and shortly reached the Dragon Fly house. My room was the first room with red walls and a simple four poster bed with a white net on it and my bath area was in the open.
Yes!! My shower and facilities were under the open skies and on pebbles. Five of us; Jose, Inma, Sergio, Belinda and I sat up for a while around the dining. Jose, Inma and Sergio are best friends and were travelling together through all of Sri Lanka. While in Hikkaduwa; Jose and Inma were helping a friend, Eva with the construction of her house and Sergio was taking a diving course. Too tired to think or talk I crashed in moments after being guided by Belinda to cover Hikkaduwa and Galle the next day and she promptly organised for Kumara, the tuktuk guy to take me around.
It was the 24th of December; Kumara and I were on our way by 10, it was not raining thankfully. We started with the sand Buddha, a Tsunami Memorial site. It was located facing the sea in the middle of a lotus pond. I soaked in the calm while Kumara started telling me about the devastation the Tsunami had brought to Sri Lanka and Hikkaduwa in specific. I recall just sitting at the back of the tuktuk with my hand on my mouth in complete disbelief. We paused at another Monument site where they had made a brass painting of sorts on what the Tsunami had done and how people had hung on to trees; dead or alive; thousands died inside a train... oh the tragedy of it had my heart sinking already. But the last stop broke me; it was the Tsunami Photo Museum.
A shabby shack with hand-written charts wrapped in plastic giving details, prayers, numbers... stats... stories... events... blow by blow description. Hundreds of photos from all over the world donated by so many people. Ohhhh the story each picture told... thousands of lives destroyed by death and devastation... by nature's fury. None of us had even known a term or word like Tsunami before that day.. 10 years ago... Children being the worst hit cause they could not outrun the waves. They never stood a chance! I stood still in front of all those walls with pictures... and photos and news articles... I stood still and stared... for hours.. and even though I didn't know any of them... my eyes had welled up. I sat down on the floor for a moment with my head in my hands with the room full of photos spinning in my mind and the pain I was surrounded in. Yes there was hope that so many had come to this country as volunteers and tried to rehabilitate this beautiful and peace-loving place. Belinda was one of them. She had been invited by Joy; a social worker in 2006 and now both of them were living here ever since.
My heart was too heavy as I hugged the woman who ran the place and also had lost someone to the Tsunami. I just could not ask her who it was and what her story was. I requested Kumara to just stop somewhere by the beach so I could collect myself. I just stood there watching hundreds of tourist and people by the beach and then I stared at the sea... the sea they had come to enjoy... It must have been a day like this 10 years ago I thought. As I kept sulking, Kumara came to join me and said... I know just the place for you... I quietly walked behind him and sat in the tuktuk.