Six Months after the Tsunami on the Shores of South India
Fifty kilometers south of the large city of Chennai, in south India, a group of five fishermen are building a boat alongside the coastal highway when we pull up. They are using axes to carve thirty-foot logs, five of which will be lashed together lengthwise to make akattumaram, the Tamil word for boat that has found its way into the English language nearly intact as catamaran. A simple thatch roof suspended on poles located under the arching arms of an old tree offers a double layer of shade from a relentless midday sun. An untold number of these catamarans were swept out to sea six months ago in the tsunami, along with houses, personal possessions and people here along the shore of the Bay of Bengal.