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April 03, 2005

100 Days Festival

The festival's first day was mellow, but powerful in its own ways. The day began with a walking parade down to the beach, through some of Bang Niang's demolished resorts. Children carried signs that said "Thank you Tsunami Volunteers." Survivors in colorful sarongs walked proudly. Cyclists finishing their ride from Bangkok walked their bikes (some wore helmets made from coconuts!). The volunteers each carried a huge canvas beach umbrella painted with giant sunflowers, which was pretty impressive.

About 20 meters away, a Thai woman attending the event had stopped to sit on a crumbled wall of the 5-star resort bungalow, to sob in grief. Two photographers stood about 5 meters away from her, photographing for a long while. I felt really badly for her. But at least the photographers kept a respectful distance. When I saw her again about 15 minutes later, she was swarmed by at least 12 media. I wondered if that made it a hard day for her, or if it helped her by being able to tell her story again, and keep her family member alive through words.

There also is a field of 100 painted bamboo poles with streamers, as a symbol of the resiliency of the people through this tragedy.

Each of the camps making crafts has booths to sell their artwork. Everything handmade, it's so lovely. The Pakarang Boatyard has a double tent with two long-tail boats being repaired, so people can see how it works. The boatyard is selling t-shirts that Helene designed. They cost 100bht to make and we sell them for 250, so that will be some nice extra money for the project. 47 shirts sold alredy!

The ThaIkea group is painting furniture as well. There are some food vendors, and bands on the main stage.

One of my favorite things so far here in Khao Lak, has been the police. The station is just down the road from the vol center, and they have a large outdoor movie screen put up in the driveway along the road. Every night they play loud music or movies — for the spirits to enjoy while they walk the earth for 100 days. I had noticed the screen was missing — but they have set it up on the 100 Days Memorial site.

Posted by sedda at April 3, 2005 06:06 PM