2011 saw a series of some of the worst natural disasters to afflict our nation. The January D.C. snowstorm left some evening commuters stranded more than 10 hours. With two feet of snow and 60 mph winds, the Groundhog Blizzard brought Chicago to a standstill. In late April, 343 tornadoes in the central and southern states caused 321 deaths. Remember Joplin, MO? In May, with winds over 200 mph, the single deadliest tornado recorded struck that city. Texas saw 71 summer days of over 100 degrees. My family and I had just left our August vacation in New Jersey before Newark set a record of 108.
Although I could report more disaster, I share a ray of hope. Remember the Indonesia Tsunami? One eight-year old girl swept away by the giant wave which hit her village, Ujong Baroh, would be 15 now. In fact, she is 15!
After separation from her family, Wati turned up this week in neighboring Meulaboh. She told the staff at the Simpang Pelor cafe she wanted to get home. All she could remember was her grandfather’s name, Ibrahim. When people took her to his house, Ibrahim quickly identified her as his missing granddaughter. When her parents came, they identified her by the small scar above her eyebrow.
Amid the sadness of loss in 2011, we find one story of hope. Maybe in 2012 we’ll find more such stories. I wish at least one such story for you.