Deck chairs on the beach, South Coast, Sri Lanka.
I visited Sri Lanka three years after the devastating 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. In Sri Lanka alone more than 30,000 lives were taken by the 35-foot high waves that crashed into the land on that day. The international cricket ground in Galle was also badly damaged but thankfully the Sri Lankan team was on tour in New Zealand that year.
Many people along the south west coast had a story to tell about the Tsunami and it was really hard to imagine ever facing something so horrendous and being so defenceless. There really was nothing they could have done to protect themselves.
Restaurant owners showed photos of cars washed up by the force of the waves onto their bumper bar and leaning against trees. Restaurants, if still standing were filled with water and debris, an awful mess and a hygienic nightmare. I remember looking at the photos and thinking ‘where and how would you start to clean that up’.
Despite this tragic event, the palm-lined beaches along the south west coast really are beautiful. The people were full of optimism, talking about their plans to rebuild and looking towards a brighter future. At the end of almost every conversation they would ask us to tell our friends to visit Sri Lanka. I hope some of mine do.