Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A land of stark contrasts

This week has been pretty full-on. The group of MDiv students I have is small - just 7 - and reasonably well-engaged. Their English is generally good and they seem very diligent. But teaching is still pretty demanding.

After classes we have been meeting various people, some old friends, some new contacts, hearing stories that hearten and fill us with despair.

Yesterday evening we walked down the Galle Road into Mount Lavinia for dinner. I never cease to amazed at the noise of the streets - car horns, engine noise, people shouting - that make holding a conversation all but impossible!

Three years ago I walked on the beach just the other side of Dehiwalla station and found a fisihing community that five years after the tsunami was still living in the wreckage of their homes. I met a mother stoically waiting for the government to win the war over the LTTE. Then she said, they will come and help us. The war was just finishing then.

Linda and I walked on the beach on Monday afternoon. The people are still waiting. We met a man selling crisps to raise money to put food on his family's table. His house is still a shell; no help has come from any quarter.

It makes you weep to see people 8 years after the tsunami, in a city where the number of four-by-fours has risen exponentially, where condos are going up all over the place, including one overlooking this beach which boasts a gym and a swimming pool, still living in the debris of houses that had once been their homes.

It makes you realise what a place of contrasts this country is and how many still suffer the effects of those contrasts.

No comments: