Victoria & Abdul
There are multiple pleasures to be had by witnessing a powerful, still-vital woman finding unexpected late-life joy of the platonic variety.
"Consider supporting Sarvodaya, the largest development charity in Sri Lanka, which has a 45 year track record in reaching out and helping the poorest of the poor. Sarvodaya has mounted a well organised, countrywide relief effort using their countrywide network of offices and volunteers who work in all parts of the country, well above ethnic and other divisions." -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation
The best-known Western resident of Sri Lanka is alive and well, but devastated, after the tsunami tragedy.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of "2001: A Space Odyssey," says he is "enormously relieved" that his family and household in Colombo, the nation's capital, "have escaped the ravages of the sea."
For many others, he wrote, "the day after Christmas turned out to be a living nightmare reminiscent of 'The Day after Tomorrow'."
Sir Arthur, at 87 a living legend of science fiction and science writing, is credited with the idea of triangulating space satellites to provide global communication. More than half a century later, such satellites make e-mail and cell phones possible, and are bringing relief or sadness to those waiting for news from the areas of devastation.
Sri Lanka "lacks the resources and capacity to cope with the aftermath of a disaster of unprecedented magnitude," he wrote. "I am encouraging friends to contribute to the relief efforts."
He recommends international charities such as CARE or Oxfam (see box above) -- or Sarvodaya, "the largest development charity in Sri Lanka, which has a 45-year track record in helping the poorest of the poor," and has mounted a "well-organized, countryside relief effort, well above ethnic and other divisions." He cites the website www.sarvodaya.org and also suggests the list of urgently-needed items at http://www.sarvodaya.org/Inside_Page/urgently%20needed.htm.
"Curiously enough," he wrote, "in my first book on Sri Lanka, I had written about another tidal wave reaching the Galle harbour (see Chapter 8 in 'The Reefs of Taprobane' (1957). That happened in August 1883, following the eruption of Krakatoa in roughly the same part of the Indian Ocean."
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