Father in Me
Although covering a disaster has been a part of my career for some time by now, Tsunami and its after-mess in Sri Lanka was different from other assignments, from the scale of the disaster to the casualty that far exceeded what one can imagine.
But most profoundly I was a different person.
To be exact, now I am a father of a one year old boy, Baby Gio.
Children meant something more to me than before. And their suffering was more than heartbreaking.
But so was their happiness. The father in me was so glad to see a girl with a big toothy smile, holding her mother's hand as they returned to rebuild their destroyed house that stood between the once heavenly beach and the railroad track.
Amy Waldman, a foreign correspondent based in India, and I, ran into a fisherman who was cleaning his well, half of his body submerged under the dirty water that was filled with debris and salt water. We found a blind man who relied his entire life on a 4-foot stick, who survived the unimaginable Tsunami with help of his cousin and neighbors, and one day, along the once beautiful coast of Sri Lanka, we ran into a woman taking a shower. Among the hopelessly scattered debris, the water poured out shining from the solitary shower. It was certainly more than refreshing to photograph the woman. I was amazed to see the shower working, and maybe it is not too much to say that in that moment, I saw hope of life surviving.
This was one of the last pictures I took during a few days of sharing the bits of people's lives in a difficult time, whether they lost their family or not. It was a difficult time for the world to witness their loss and tragedy. A difficult time for the survivors, but I saw, still standing still like the shower faucet and the water that cleaned survivors' tiring body, their spirit.
© Chang W. Lee
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