Wati was eight years old when Ujong Baroh village was hit by the tsunami. Her mother, Yusniar, was trying to take her and her two siblings to a safe place but somehow she lost her grip on her mother`s arm and was carried away by the rushing waters, leaving her mother powerless to help her.
Yusniar was able to save her two other children but she and the rest of the family eventually had to resign themselves to the notion that Wati was lost as she never returned nor had anybody in the neigborhood seen her again dead or alive.
But on Wednesday, Ibrahim, Wati`s grandfather in Meulaboh city received an acquaintance at his home who was accompanied by a teenaged girl wearing a blue head scarf. The acquaintance said the girl had come to the Simpang Pelor coffee shop where she just sat in silence. People thought she was a beggar and tried to engage her in conversation.
She claimed she had come to Meulaboh by bus from Banda Aceh and was trying to find her way back home but did not know how. She also could not remember any of her parents` or relatives` names except Ibrahim.
After listening to the acquintance`s account, Ibrahim immediately sensed the girl could be his long lost grandchild and, after a closer look at the dark-skinned girl, was indeed convinced she was Wati who went missing in the tsunami seven years ago,
Ibrahim then sent word to Yusniar and her husband Yusuf to come to his home and meet Wati. The two parents confirmed Wati`s identity after recognizing a small mole and a scar over her eyebrow that Wati got when she was six years old.
What had happened to Wati after she was carried away by the tsunami currents was not immediately disclosed to reporters except that over the years she had been to places in other districts in Aceh province. (*)