Reporters on the Job
• News via Barge : For today's story about life after the tsunami in Tamilnadu (page 7), correspondent Nachammai Raman returned to the city of Cuddalore in southeastern India. She first went there shortly after the Dec. 26 tsunami. "What struck me most was how the children in the whole district have rebounded. I suppose that like children everywhere, they're very resilient. The adults were the ones still living in the past, and complaining about the situation. Of course, they're sitting in shelters with no jobs and little to do. But the children have school, friends, and teachers for support."
While Nachammai was there, she took a barge across a 500-meter stretch of water to get the off-shore island of Sothikuppam. When the first waves of the tsunami arrived, some 20 children were hustled onto the barge in an attempt to save them. But they were swept away and drowned. Nachammai climbed aboard with a group of children who had no concern about the trip. "I wasn't worried about a tsunami, but the barge was decrepit - and slow. I wasn't sure it would hold together. And it's pulled across by hand. The journey takes an interminable 15 minutes. I share the villagers' hope that the government will soon build a bridge," she says.
David Clark Scott