kids at the fugee camp in Panadura
I went to a camp at Panadura with Gavin and Jeremy (from the Fulbright kids). Driving down from Colombo you could see where the wave came in. The railroad runs along the coast. You’re not allowed to build legal residences along the railroad, hence people build shanty-towns. As we left Moratuwa and headed south you could see the houses go from rows to patchwork to nothing. Some were inexplicably left standing surrounded by fallen plywood and asbestos sheeting. Some blocks were just cleared. Taking the cab home from Moratuwa my Trishaw driver said that his house had been destroyed and his neighbors swept out to sea. It is strange when such things are a part of day-to-day conversation, but they are. I was talking to Deshan about his new baby (awesome) and I asked if they had any help. He said that the Nanny had gone home cause her mother and sister had been in a train which was swept away by the waves. Now she’s the only breadwinner for her family. This is a normal conversation.
But back to Panadura. The camp there was exceptionally well organized. Oddly enough, they had Internet and 35 computers. This is an anomaly. The place was a monastery/IT Center which has been converted to a camp. I met this Spanish Volunteer David something Lopez, his name is somewhere in my stack of business cards. He gave me Excel sheets with the names of everyone in the camp, what was destroyed and what to do. This I posted over at blogforsrilanka.
As soon as we took out the digital cameras the children mobbed us. I wish we had Polaroids so they could have their own photos rather than staring at a 2×2 screen. The scrum of peering heads really got to be too much. I got them to line up to take turns looking at the photos, but the lines fell apart as soon as I lowered my head. In the end I had to deputize one of the older kids to keep the others in line. One little dude was throwing pebbles at me. It was funny cause they were all about the white kids and uninterested in me.
This is a father and his son Suresh
This man is Tamil as far as I know, at least his wife said she was. I am glad that they found refuge in a Buddhist Temple. That is how it should be.
I know this doesn’t look uplifting but its the Sarvodaya Staff in Hambantota after they served food to 2,500 people, which is pretty cool. I’ve posted almost 500 photos on the Sarvodaya Flickr site now, btw. Some make me sad but some give me a lot of hope.
Besides that, I am trying to design a whole online operation for Sarvodaya to get all the logistics data coming into Central online. Then they’d like to get the Districts online and providing real-time feeback on their projects, supplies, needs, etc. It’s a big software engineering job, but I think it’s doable and fun. If anybody has $20,000 with which I can hire a capable programmer that would be hot. I also need $2,500 for an enterprise level server. You may leave donations under my pillow when I am asleep.
In ‘real-life’ notes, while I was gone the General Manager of the magazine I’m trying to publish pulled a little Chandrika and took over the Cover Story, Layout, Sub-Editing, and Final Approval portfolios. He’s said that I cannot publish any articles on the Tsunami this issue and has dictated that the cover story will be Internet Security.
Gavin and I described my relationship with my Publisher as ‘mindfuck-buddies’. This also describes many of my relationships with women. In those cases the relationship involves all the tokens of dating – dinner, movies, communication – but no sex. In the case of my Publisher – I write articles, go to meetings, print brochures, sell ads – but no sex. They still haven’t paid me a cent and my contract has been on their desk for a month. For these reasons Pragathi’s little coup will emerge as funny in 3 days. I hope.