By Adele Barker | I still crush garlic with the back of a wooden spoon. And once a month, I look up at the moon and say to myself, “it’s a poya,” the Sinhalese word for ‘full moon.’ I carry the island inside me, though it has been years since we lived there. I haven’t been back to Sri Lanka since 2012 and am struggling as many are to explain the Easter Sunday horror in churches and hotels where people were celebrating the holidays.
By Adele BarkerIt was time to go home. I left Pakistan on February 5 only hours before my visa had expired and winged my way to Paris to see friends for five days before heading back to the U.S. I had mixed feelings about leaving. The pull of family, friends, and the deeply familiar drew me home. But I was leaving a country that has, on an almost daily basis, never failed over the past year to astonish me.
In an odd way, every day is like Christmas around here in Rawalpindi. The lights we put up once a year in the States are part of my everyday landscape in Pakistan. Red, blue, yellow and green lights are festooned outside the enormous wedding halls that dot the landscape of life here. Weddings are very very big, three-day affairs over here, draining families of their savings and quite possibly Pakistan of its electricity grid. No expense is spared either on the part of the family or on the part of the people who operate the wedding halls. At night, coming back from Islamabad, sometimes I look through the haze of traffic and see the blinking lights decorating the wedding halls, announcing yet another Pakistani wedding! It’s just another day of Christmas.
Adele Barker reflects on the tenth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami that claimed over 200,000 lives and left her former home of Sri Lanka deeply scarred.
Adele Barker reflects upon the changes in the country she wrote about in Not Quite Paradise.
Speaking to a convention of Sri Lankan Tamil doctors, Adele Barker discovers renewal through books.
Weeks after the Haitian earthquake, we want to see aid going where it needs to go.
On election day in Sri Lanka, Adele Barker shares a dispatch from Jaffna, a city recovering from the country's 26 year civil war.
This post is the first of a series marking the anniversary of the 2004 tsunami. This week's tragedy in Haiti calls painfully to mind the human loss and devastation of five years ago.