We sat there doing our small group discussion. There was an amazing view of the ocean where we were, two small islands in site, and yet the past right next to us. There were graves for six children who passed away on that horrible day two years ago.
I know we were not there the day of the tsunami, but arriving in Samoa one week and a day later; we have had to deal with the effects of what happened for the past two years.
I remember driving through this area after we first arrived; it reminded me of a horrible war zone, which is odd in such a peaceful country. Houses were half missing, tents for temporary shelter were set up, cars and boats were overturned, people’s possessions were scattered about. For months on the news we heard about all the people struggling for food and water, it felt like the tragedy would never end.
Now, to the outside eye, it is difficult to see the extent of that day. They have done an amazing job cleaning up. There are still little artifacts to remind you, mainly the house foundations that are left, some with still a few columns, but most people have done a great job trying to move on and not live in the past.
I did not go, but I am told you can really relive the 29th of September 2009, if you go in the water there. With a snorkel, instead of seeing the amazing coral around Samoa, you will see the remnants of that day. Doors, silverware, tires, basically anything that was washed to sea, is still there.
From what I am told, the beach resorts in this area are back to where they were. Villages have mainly moved inland (a common theme after any disaster), which means people have a longer walk to catch their food, or catch a bus.
Lalomanu was a place that first brought me to tears, and finally it brought me fond memories of my group for the few days we stayed there.