True Story ~ A Blessing in Disguise by Maja Zwicky
By Maja Zwicky,
As a teenager I had dreams that occurred in my real life about 2 weeks later, true in every single detail. I had 2 accidents which I’ve dreamed about in advance and was scared to go to sleep.
I revealed them to my mother who had her own spiritual experiences in her time and we both prayed together to stop them, as I couldn’t handle such a gift. They stopped, but on the 25th December 2004, one day before the tsunami hit South East Asia and changed our lives forever, I had another, terrifying dream:
Shortly before midnight I dreamed that my little, 6 year old daughter Saya and I were on a speedboat, on our way to the capital island Male. She asked me if she could go to the back part of the speedboat and I allowed it. She balanced precariously along the small outer rim of the boat and I saw her disappear. I believed that she safely reached her destination. When we arrived at the harbor in Male, Saya was nowhere to be seen and I realized with a great shock that she must have fallen into the sea unseen and was lost forever. I woke up with this horror scenario in my head, heart beating fast, in complete shock and had to turn to her, touch her to make sure it was just a dream. I couldn’t sleep for the next couple of hours and swore to myself that I will teach her how to swim as soon as possible.
The next morning, the tsunami came. Two weeks before, my neighbors removed the outhouse kitchen which was doubling the thickness of the wall beside our room. My husband, my daughter and I lived in one room, part of abig house full of relatives, which were loud, obnoxious, abusive and dirty. Every single member just threw waste onto the floor, hoping that someone else would clean up. Left over food molded away in pots and rats partied under and over the roofs. A little girl, not much younger than my Saya was force fed every day several times until she vomited and then punished for vomiting. I was a white foreigner – a Swiss and been scolded for protesting their behavior. I was miserable and unhappy for many reasons. My husband showed no affection of love or kindness, our business which I invested in, was miss-managed and I threatened with a court case just to have insight into the account books.
The tsunami took it all away, in one big sweep. He hit us high and hard. He hit our home, leaked underneath the door, broke off a piece of wall and entered like a waterfall. He made everything starting to float and I was surprised that he didn’t electrocute me. I scrambled on top of our mattress which miraculously floated up with me on it, until the pressure in the room pushed out the entire wall and I swept on my ‘magic carpet’ into the garden of the neighbors, who removed their kitchen only two weeks earlier. Behind me, the entire house collapsed.
I sat there, surrounded by wailing family members and was convinced that Saya, who was in a different house to read the Quran, was taken from me – like in the dream. I wasn’t even looking for her! My only question was – where did this tsunami came from – maybe the big one in California – going around the world …. Until someone said: “Maya – there is Saya!” And there she stood. Drowned from head to toe with her little hijab hanging limp around her neck! That big wave smashed that home as well and lo and behold made an opening into the same garden where I was sitting. She was less than 10 meters away from me – crying and vomiting dirty water.
She later told me that she was under water when she felt a presence and someone or something released her leg which was trapped and crushed under a concrete block, pulled her up to the surface and guided her out.
HOW MANY ANGELS HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED SO FAR? – at least four, isn’t it? Well, it’s just the beginning.
Saya’s leg was bleeding and I hoped, after the water receded, that we have a chance to find a way to treat her wounds. We slowly and carefully made our way direction island hospital. When we arrived, it was still standing but deserted, and the only thing we could find was a little bottle of drinking water. The entire island otherwise was unrecognizable. 86% destroyed and rendered uninhabitable. Over 40 people lost their lives but our family was lucky. None of our family had to mourn a dead member. Again the miracles and angels at work were amazing! IF my father-in-law would have been in his room when the wave hit – he would have been drowned and crushed. – At that moment, he was close to the harbor, able to reach and embrace a palm tree and survive. One of my sisters-in-law has 4 kids and one of them extremely naughty, always running away and need to be found!
That morning that child was staying very close to her mother the entire time and my sister-in-law was able to embrace them all, been swept off by the wave and deposited safely 140 meters farther off.
There was so much broken glass and dangerous items littering the grounds and stuck in the dirt and mud and we all lost our shoes, left in front of our homes, but almost nobody had another wound on their feet! I was too much in shock to even consider going back to the place where our home stood, to see if I could rescue anything. I saw books of mine littering the grounds – Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East – and I didn’t even thought of taking it. All was gone. – All. My husband was at sea with our boat when the tsunami hit – on his way back to our island and I had no idea whether he and the boat survived! We had a lot of passengers on board too – not only supplies for the islands! What became of them!?
We slowly made our way to the harbor and met there many many familiar faces and the rest of our family. All were desperate to leave the island – but where to go? We had no contact and no idea if not the rest of the Maldives was as hard hit as our own island! So people started to organize chairs to sit in the shadow of palm trees, some biscuits and drinks from broken shops, but several others were wounded and needed treatment too! Finally in the afternoon, a boat from an island, a couple of hours away, came to look for us and pick those up who needed a hospital as well as women and children. Saya and I went to Diyaminghili – the 2nd stop, while the other family members disembarked at Guraidhoo, the 1st stop. Saya’s wounds were finally cleaned and treated.
Women and children slept inside the island’s hospital that night while the men stood guard outside. I couldn’t sleep as scenarios of our boat and my husband tortured me. I had no money, no passport or ID card, no fresh clothes, underwear, toiletries – nothing. nothing but my life and my little daughter. The next morning, after a communal breakfast and a trip back to the hospital for new bandages, I went to a home with an intact shower to freshen up, when the news reached me that our boat was sighted, was fine and on its way here. – That’s when the tears finally came uncontrolled. It took more than 7 looooooong hours of waiting until husband and crew finally walked toward us and hugged us tightly. They then brought us back on our loyal boat to Guraidhoo, which had electricity and the better hospital too.
There, we got toothbrushes, toothpaste and a towel, the first of many aids. On our boat was even a parcel from a friend with some Swiss chocolate and a body spray – what a treasure!
We witnessed many more family members who arrived to find their loved ones, and others who came to mourn those who perished. While I was waiting for Saya at the hospital the next morning, I saw for the first time the devastating pictures of the tsunami in East Asia and knew that I needed to reach my parents as soon as possible! But still all the telephone lines were down, not even the major of the island had a chance to reach anyone. The boats only contacted each other by CB – within reach. I sat at the harbour with Saya when I saw a familiar face in a group of military personnel. My husband once gave him his surfboard when he visited our island Vilufushi. “Hey brother,” I called, “I need to contact my parents urgently to tell them that I’m alive. Do you have any idea how I can do that?” His superior seemed to have a walkie-talkie and replied that he will give me a chance when he comes back from a visit to another island. After a couple of hours the group was back and the walkie-talkie turned out to be a satellite phone – one of maybe 10 in the entire Maldives! I was able to speak with my father before Red Cross even had the list of foreigners to search for prepared!
HOW MANY MORE ANGELS AND BLESSINGS?! – IT’S AMAZING, ISN’T IT?
From then onward, everything came even more together: Many men, including my husband went back to destroyed Vilufushi to look for some things to rescue. He found my purse, still stuck with the key in the door, he found my passport, my diary with all the addresses inside, some of our clothes and bedsheets and even a pink music box which Saya just got recently from Switzerland which still worked! Our boat, undestroyed and seaworthy was back in business almost immediately and had a new and better accountant to make some money.
New Zealand sent Kiwis by the crates (normally a veeery expensive treat, only availabe in Male). When the phone connections worked again we were invited by my friend to stay in her home in Male and went there by a speedboat, hired by a very rich politician who took us survivors in. All went well and nobody got lost at sea. Open hearts and helping hands everywhere in Male! From a kind taxi driver who gave us a free ride to clothes stalls, distributing to so many in need, a shop keeper who let us choose free underwear and gave Saya a hand fan, to countless voluntary helpers who helped us to enrol Saya in Grade 1. Not to mention my dear friend who took us into her home for 2 months, before her husband (whose house it actually is) vetoed and asked us to leave, knowing well how many years we might be waiting until we could return to our home island.
Most of our island’s refugees were moved to Buruni, where Red Cross installed container homes for them. We had the incredible fortune to have been invited to a home in Naalaafushi, after leaving from Male. My husband Saudhi’s tsunami trip with our boat and his fantastic reaction to the wave’s force, which saved dozens of lives, also saved the lives of two daughters from a lovely couple with a new home at the beach. Their daughters were hardly ever home but at schools in Male, the wife had a job on the neighbor tourist resort Medufushi and the husband did odd jobs and helped wherever help was needed. We financed the finishing of their new home and were invited to stay with them as long as it will take until we could move back home.
Naalaafushi was our healer where Saya went to school until Grade 5, where she learned to lose her fear of the sea, learned snorkeling, swimming, riding a bicycle and take life one breath at the time. For me it was a time to find my inner peace too. I asked tour operator Kuoni England for childrens’ books for the island kids and was overwhelmed by the generous donation of over 800 books. Instead of just distributing them, I opened the first library in the school premises and ran it on a voluntary basis for the next 5 years. I also gave tuition in English for kids and adults alike and enjoyed my time there tremendously. My daughter taught my husband to give hugs, which in turn enhanced our relationship as a couple and as a family.
When we finally returned to our home island Vilufushi with a laughing and a tearing eye in 2009, we got our own little bungalow-style home from Red Cross, an island which is now enlarged and teemed to be tsunami-safe with a rim around it and live with more peace and love in our hearts than ever before. Did I mentioned gratitude? GRATITUDE for all the angels by our side from the nightmare right to this moment.
GRATITUDE for all the miracles – especially during so called catastrophes – and all the synchronicity I encounter so very often. GRATITUDE to connect back with angels on a daily basis through cards and with my Highest Self through new books and new outlooks on life.
Today my life is blessed in all aspects – it’s not perfect, but oh so blessed and it all started with the tsunami. So don’t despair when something strikes you down and strip you off everything you possessed. It might just be the beginning of something wonderful to come your way. Keep looking around, keep being grateful, keep praying and keep believing.
Much love and light and many blessings always,
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