The Lester File

Friday, February 03, 2006

Koh Phi Phi continued...

As the wave crashed through her small store, she desperately grabbed for something solid to hold on to. She grabbed the shelves that were bolted to the wall and watched helplessly as other victims fought the rushing water. Unfortunately, these people were destined to become the bodies she described floating around her small shop. Broken glass and debris sliced and crushed anything in its path and the wave had such force that it brought down sea walls that were built only two months before. As she continued clutching her anchor of shelves, a large girder gave way and landed on her leg. She couldn't move. The water rose to her neck and she was certain she would become another one of the bodies floating about her, but the wave came back and pushed the heavy concrete away. Once free, she climbed the nearby stairs to the second floor to get to higher ground. Although her leg was injured and she'd sustained many other minor cuts, she spent the rest of the morning pulling survivors out of the water. By this time, the water was high enough to touch the second floor of her small shop, which is about 10-12 feet high. She said that those who did not die from the pounding wave or razer sharp glass being thrown like knives by the force of the tsunami were killed by ingesting sea water filled with sharp sand and debris that ripped through their digestive tracts.
Today, she still owns the small shop that saved her life that day (I bought a really cool wrap there), but the tsunami devastated this small island and she will be forced to close soon. She has a restaurant a few hundred yards away that requires more of her attention and she is short-handed because not many people are returning to the island to find work and she has no children to help she and her husband. Her small village on the opposite side of the island lost hundreds of people, her friends, faces she longs to see.

This was her story about Dec. 26, 2004.


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