These last few days we've had the opportunity to travel to the Southern coast of Sri Lanka in order to film and take support photos for the children attending the AED schools at Galle and Tangalle. Two things stand out about this area of the country. First, it is a beautiful area lined with miles of pristine beaches. Second, it is an area tragically struck by the tsunami of 2004. Many homes and businesses still lay in ruins. Driving through this region has helped me to clarify the reality of what these people suffered.
Driving by, however, could never teach me as much as what I learned from a man named De Silva. As I climbed out of our van to take a few quick pictures of buildings destroyed by the tsunami, he approached me and wanted to talk. As we engaged in conversation, it was obvious that he had a story to tell. He took me into his home and showed me how the entire back half of it had been destroyed. They had since rebuilt this part of the home but the front was still significantly damaged. In broken English he told me about not only about the damage done to his home but also to the surrounding area.
At first I thought maybe he was doing all this to ask me for money. As he told his story, it became more evident that all he wanted was for people to know what had happened to Sri Lanka in the tsunami. He asked me to tell this story with my camera and to help get support for Sri Lanka. This is exactly what I intend to do. DeSilva helped to remind me one more time of the importance of the task that we've undertaken, to capture the film and photos of those who have a story to tell that may never otherwise be heard.