Waves of Courage by Charani Kodikara

All I can remember are waves. Relentless waves of muddy water embodied by the trepidation of a natural disaster. I remember staring at the television for hours. Hours that seemed like a never-ending nightmare. I can still feel the despair-filled tears engulfing my heart with fear.

The year was 2004 and my home country of Sri Lanka was struck by a tsunami as a result of the third largest earthquake ever recorded in the Indian Ocean. The news seemed to play for hours.  Every channel looked the same:  muddy water, destroyed homes, and families screaming on the television while watching waves of water destroying their memories.  The flood came as fast as I could name my family members.  Luckily, I lived on the outskirts of the city.  My relatives were not so fortunate.  A dear cousin lived near the coast. My father’s sister lived a few miles away, yet the television showed the communities of my family washed away.

My family was gone.



These images of disaster invoked fear. The cries and disheveled homes of my country only brought despair.

Days passed and the waves cleared.  Our country’s tears dried but were forever inked on my country’s history. As a family and community, we dismissed our depression and instead saw hope that people were still alive. The hardest part of life is not school, work, money, or materialistic personifications of happiness. Life was at its hardest when I had to dismiss these images of despair and gain the courage to look for family members in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy.

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