German Memory in Asia - A Visit to Tsunami-Hit Jungle Areas
She was shaking her hands while talking as though she wanted such gestures to enhance her expressions of the extent of the tsunami devastation. Her eyes were expressive adding more meaning to the tragedy. The eyes had a gleam in the mid-noon daylight. Immediately after the interview I talked to Fredrike Wagnar. As she has a grasp of economics, her view about the disaster had a different dimension towards sorting out and coping with the crisis. The way she was behaving to express the tragedy was heart-rending.Archaeological findings show that the Poompugar City, which was inundated, was off the coast of Tamil Nadu of Southern India as mentioned in Tamil texts.
Some other older texts like Tolkappiyam, the oldest surviving Tamil text and grammar book written supposedly around 500 B.C., says that the Pumpugar City was supposedly flourishing there 7000 years ago before tsunami tidal waves took the city beneath the sea.
Most of the people thought it was only a myth until they experienced the 2004-tsunami tidal waves and experienced its massive devastation.
With drifting memories of the ruined Poompukar and walking along the destroyed marine drive in the Indian Ocean''s coastal Mullaitivu, the LTTE member showed me a well near the beach and told me that that was pure water well now turned into salt water. I stepped up a ladder and peeped into the well, there was a motor for pumping the water out from the well. Though they had been dredging continuously for days, there was no significant difference in the water. The tsunami waves might have changed the underneath water system.
When I was about to step into the vehicle, the Catholic priest of the ruined church arrived. We went to him to hear of the tragedies of that fateful day and how he had survived. He had narrowly escaped as he was in a different church at the time when the tsunami demolished his church. God had saved the life of a spiritual leader to console the people who had lost their kith and kin and almost everything. We condoled with him on what had happened.
We started our journey towards Mulliavallai hospital, which was originally a maternity hospital, but now turned into an emergency ward for tsunami victims as well.
A decade ago in the CARE days I have visited that area a number of times. But now the landscape had changed a lot.
When we were reaching the Mulliawalai area, old memories came alive. At the Mulliavalai hospital we heard many horrific stories of tsunami tidal waves. Entering the hospital we saw pregnant women, mothers with newborn infants and those who narrowly escaped housed there together in the same ward. The German Praktikum (Internship) students, I noticed were a little puzzled by the hospital and its set-up.
They might have wondered at the unusual combination of patients with different ailments being brought together or at the condition and the available facilities of the hospital to serve many an affected victim. The large hospitals they were accustomed to in Germany might have disturbed them when they compared them with the Asian jungle''s tiny hospital. They might have well experienced the disparities of the very first Planet Earth where they were living on many grounds.
We went to meet the doctors and other health officials attached to the hospital in the front office of the hospital, and they came out with many pathetic stories about the condition of the hospital. They had only two medical officers for medical services, which are normally provided with twenty medical officers in a developed country, which run them efficiently. Dr. Jayalath, Dietmar Doering and the team had a lengthy discussion and came out with alternative arrangements in order to compensate for the shortfalls.
When I came out of the office the young students who were busily unloading medicines and medical instruments from a medium sized lorry of the six-vehicle convoy surprised me.
Immediately after the unloading, the tired Fredrike Wagnar, an undergraduate student of a Munich-based university was giving an interview on her experience about the tsunami devastation, which will be telecast all over Germany by satellite transmission. She was shaking her hands while talking as though she wanted such gestures to enhance her expressions of the extent of the tsunami devastation.
Her eyes were expressive adding more meaning to the tragedy. The eyes had a gleam in the mid-noon daylight.
Immediately after the interview I talked to Fredrike Wagnar. As she has a grasp of economics, her view about the disaster had a different dimension towards sorting out and coping with the crisis. The way she was behaving to express the tragedy was heart-rending.
Rajkumar Kanagasingam is the author of the fascinating book - German Memories in Asia......A collection of memories by the author in his discussion with German university students who have been volunteering in Asia on the sensitive issues of Early Human Migration, Asian & European historical events especially the German since the Roman Empire era to the times of First & Second World Wars and about the Germans around the world and their Migrations, Life styles, Encounters and Assimilations since the ancient times, his experiences in an American NGO as an officer in the rebel-held war-torn jungles and then in a tsunami relief mission there with German students, and the German students'' life and fashion in Asia....