Rehabilitation and ReconstructionGAMBIER, Ohio (February 8, 2005) Ted Samuel was on a beach in Kanniyakumari, near the southern most tip of the Indian subcontinent, on December 21. The senior from Barnesville, Ohio, had traveled abroad during the winter break to conduct research for his Senior Exercise, attend the wedding of a Kenyon alumna, and soak up more of the culture he experienced during his junior year abroad. Five days later, the beach was devastated by the tsunami.
Samuel, who was far from the coastal region by the time disaster struck, is now back in Gambier. He's come together with Kenyon students from diverse campus organizations to raise money for rehabilitation in Sri Lanka and southern India.
Two of the fundraising events will take place on Sunday, February 13. "A Forum of Perspectives" will bring together students and professors who were personally affected by the tsunami. Beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Rosse Hall, the forum will feature a slide show and personal narratives. Earlier in the day, an Indian bazaar will offer a variety of goods for sale from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Peirce Hall Lounge. Cloth, bags, jewelry, lamps, and snacks are just a few of the Indian offerings on sale, with all proceeds benefitting tsunami relief. The bazaar is organized with the help of sophomore Archita Jha in her role as co-president of the South Asian Multicultural Organization for Student Awareness.
Samuel has partnered with George Williams, Class of 2006, to coordinate other campus events. They include concerts, dinners, and a performance of Indian dances in the spring. Proceeds will be given to the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools, along with a fund aimed at rebuilding a school in Sri Lanka.
For Samuel, whose parents are natives of India, these projects have meaning on a variety of levels. "As someone who is from Ohio, I know that all some people hear is what's available in the news. We want to present a more personal aspect of the tsunami disaster in our fundraising efforts," says the international studies major. "We're also interested rehabilitation, not just relief. My father's ancestral village was hit hard. I want to know that efforts are being made to rebuild areas like that."