I still remember the day with a shudder.
At night, in vivid dreams, I see the faces of my loved ones smiling at me.
I long to see them when I awake, standing in front of me smiling; yet I know this can never be. They are forever lost to me.
We heard the word Tsunami for the first time on that fateful day, when the giant wave stole 29 lives from the pretty, peaceful sand strip between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters that was my village, the Alappad Panchayat.
The Tsunami stole my sweet daughter.
It stole from my friends their husbands, children, brothers and sisters.
We lost everything in the fury of that giant wave.
Amma, my Amma, She came to comfort me.
She came like a blessing to all of us.
For the next six months, it was Amma and the Mata Amritanandamayi Math who took care of us, feeding us, clothing us, and providing a safe place to rest our battered souls.
She gave us back our livelihood – motorized boats and nets. She provided education and brought smiles to our scared children.
Ten of us, grown women, joined AmritaSREE, the self-help group started by the Ashram, to provide an alternative livelihood and to comfort our bereaved souls.
Our group was called “Amritakripa”.
With the guarantee of the ashram, we were granted a bank loan to start a small shrimp peeling shed after saving only a small sum of money in the bank.
The buyers would provide the shrimp, paying a fixed amount for each kilo we peeled.
For a very reasonable price, AmritaSREE helped us build a shed and buy the huge pots and trolleys needed for peeling.
In two years we completely repaid the loan.
Now, as we slowly build up our savings, our children study in good schools.
We are planning to make our shed bigger so more women can join us as partners in peeling shrimp.
The black day still looms large over us.
We are grateful to Amma for her love and guidance that helped us survive our deep losses and become confident and prosperous.
As we learn to smile even in the midst of our sorrow, we thank Amma and Amritasree for everything they have given us.
— K. Lisa, Amritakripa AmritaSREE, Alappad.