chapter  4
The Sea Goddess and the fishermen: religion and recovery in Navalady, Sri Lanka
Pages 22

The iridescent blue and green bee-eaters preening their shimmering feathers in the coconut palms had flown away before the Indian Ocean tsunami visited its devastation upon the fishing village of Navalady at breakfast-time, 26 December 2004. It is also said that hundreds of wild elephants moved away from the eastern shore, while domesticated animals were caught unaware along with their owners, and many perished. However, one young Tamil boy told me that he held on tightly to something that felt like a rope while the waters carried him from his home on the sandy peninsula to the inland side of the lagoon. Only when the current swirling with dogs, goats, people, furniture, parts of broken structures, crushed boats, and other floating objects at last released him, did he realize he had been gripping the tail of a milk cow with all of his might! He assured me that this life-saving cow also survived and still grazed in the area around his home.