EVERY December 26 for the past 20 years, Pushpa Jayasekera and her family have travelled to Galle, Sri Lanka for their holidays.
This year was thankfully different for the Brisbane family, because the holiday paradise and many of the people there were washed away in the tsunami that swept through southern Asia.
One of the hotels where Pushpa, her husband Niro and their three children often stayed was one of the ones hit by the Boxing Day tsunami.
The only reason Pushpa and her family were not there on the day was because she and Niro had bought a fish and chip shop in the Brisbane suburb of Ashgrove during the year and this prevented them from making the annual visit to their homeland.
‘I was still wondering why we bought this fish and chip shop. Now I know. That saved us,’ Pushpa said.
The decision also saved their extended family who would normally have been there with them in Galle.
Niro lost friends and colleagues from the hotel though.
Pushpa said that once she saw television footage of the destruction in Galle she could not watch again.
But the images prompted her to act. She phoned the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra and volunteered to co-ordinate a Brisbane appeal.
She approached her parish priest at St Johns Wood-The Gap, Marist Father Tony Kennedy, who is also backing the appeal.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.