………I woke up in my room in Sri Lanka with a bad cold which had kept me in bed the day before. Corrina headed into the guest house to get us some coffee and breakfast whilst I lay in bed, looking at the mountain view out of the window. She was back half an hour later with breakfast and looking a little bit worried. She said that the hotel owners were talking about a wave that had taken away the town of Galle which was about 30 minutes away, they were asking her what this could be. She was a bit confused about what they were talking about but could tell from their faces that something serious had happened. Later that day the guest house owners put on the television and all I can say is that we were horrified at what we saw, the screen was full of images that would never be allowed to be shown on the news at home.
To this day we still count our blessings for a decision that perhaps saved our lives, that decision centred around the fact that we are both a little bit tight with money. We had planned to spend the Christmas week at a small backpackers beach near the southern town of Galle where we would meet Corrinas mother on New Years Eve. We were slowly making our way there through the mountains, when a couple of days before Christmas we decided that it would be nice to meet her in the Mountain town of Ella instead. This would cut down our costs as we could then share her taxi down to the coast. We later found out that the beach where we were originally headed was completely devastated with the wave destroying houses half a mile inland.
The guest house owner was starting to panic as he could not get in contact with family down on the coast. Over the following couple of weeks that we remained in the country most Sri Lankans that we met had lost at least one family member that day. That for us was the most upsetting thing, seeing how the Tsunami completely tore apart a country. We stayed for over a week with our gracious hosts in Hapitale as there was nowhere else for us to go, flights in and out of the country were cancelled and there were warnings of disease spreading. Although they had lost family members that day, they looked after us well.
Our thoughts still turn to people we had met and travelled with prior to the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, especially the couple we shared a taxi and then a guest house for a few days. They were heading to the coast for Christmas and we never heard from them again.
One day we will return to Sri Lanka as it is a fantastic country, it would be great to think about it with a smile on our faces rather than with a lump in our throats. My thoughts today are with the 250,000 who lost their lives that boxing day.
Our hosts for that week.