I am in quiet awe. There are frangipani trees in bloom along the shore of the tsunami zone. Gnarled grey barked trees reach heavenward with delicate white blossoms. New green grass at their feet. Lining a shoreline scattered with heaps of twisted corrugated iron, jagged wood planks and the fast rusting carcasses of once-beloved new cars.
In spite of the salt. And the ravage of eight foot waves that sounded like "the crashing roar of a hundred heavy duty machines". The panicked desperation of those who clung to tree branches to escape the leeching swirl of the receding water.
In spite of the desolation. Spindly shelters where families guard their meagre belongings against the ongoing thievery as both young and old pick through the remains of everyone else's lives. Even the hub caps on your truck are not safe.
In spite of the grief. A woman sits by the road crying on a freshly poured cement block. Her mother's grave. I miss my mother she sobs to us, complete strangers driving by on a sun filled afternoon.
There are frangipani trees in bloom along the shore of the tsunami zone. I am in quiet awe. Of the father who surveys the nothingness that once was his store and no less than 'five fale palagi'. From the shade of his tarpaulin hut. And tells me. 'It is like I am at the beginning all over again. When i was just starting out and we had nothing. All our hard work is gone. But none of it matters. My wife and children are alive. We are still here together. Possessions come and go. They mean nothing. I thank God for our lives.' He smiles to tell us about the turtles, the fish, the sharks that came in with the wave. 'We shared the water. Together we all searched for safety. For escape. We had no fear of each other.'
The smiling laughing teenagers out from school,making their way back to the makeshift camps. In a week they will take their School C and PSSC final exams.
The houses still standing are newly painted. Glorious loud colors. Pumpkin orange walls with a hot pink trim. Sunny yellow and fuschia. Electric green and purple. Curlicues and twirls. Lacy curtains blowing in the breeze. Family photos with cracked glass carefully hang on the wall.
Children scuffle by the roadside. Smiling.
There are frangipani trees in bloom along the shore. They are beautiful.