"The place of my birth" Sri Lanka by supune
Sri Lanka Travel Guide: 3,609 reviews and 8,335 photos
On December 26th, I finally took a flight back home. I'm on a layover in London Heathrow right now. I'll be there for 2 weeks and got a lot of projects planned.... stay tuned...
It is Dec 30th. We stayed at a wonderful Hotel, the Global Towers in Colombo 6, next to the ocean. We got 2 suites fora really good price. We've eaten at a Indian Restaurant called "Curry Leaves" and a food court at a mall in Downtown Colombo.
I'm a bit dissappointed that I don't see many sari and sarang on the people on the street. There's a lot of annoying (commercial) christmas decoration with snow and evergreens (seems out of place in a tropical country).
Yesterday we visited a Meditation center run by Sarvodaya, an NGO that is very cost effective at uplifiting villages one village and one person at a time. They regular offer meditation classes in Colombo for people ranging from hyperactive kids, to prisoners, to pregnant women. Dr Ariyarante, a gandhian that founded Sarvodaya, invited us to his house. They had their annual general meeting yesterday, and he still made time for us to visit him. He's a humble guy--still very shy to talk. But he told us about changing ourselves and having faith that if enough people are willing to work at being aware of social values, we can have the world we want. He said his organization has been working hard for 50 years and have finally started to make good progress though most of the organization is "still starving".
We were hosted to attend a 30 minuute meditation in the beautiful Meditaion Center they have build:
No 72/30, Rawatawatte Rd
ph: 0094 1 655653
The picture is from the mediation center.
Jan 3rd noon
I left the group on New Year’s Day. I think some were a little nervous but I think it’s cool. I didn’t want to leave the group but, my dad said it was necessary for me to go ahead of the group and make sure things are ok. So far so good. The library is almost complete. It is raining alot here.
I’m in an internet cafe in Dambulla, the closest city to Sigriya. We are buying a few more things for building the library in town. It has been raining alot and it’s been trouble to get around. So things have slowed a bit.
I met the principle of the school and he is very busy as school has started again after the holidays. He is also the Buddhist monk in the village. There is a funeral he must attend too in addition to helping to manage the building of the library.
He seems like a cool guy. Very calm. He’s brought the village together to progress since he’s been here for 30 years. If you visit the north center of Sri Lanka, you should visit him. The garden in the school is very nice. The kids seem to enjoy what they have. The teachers bus in from far away. The classrooms are really open air halls with 3 classes per hall. One of the classrooms was built with Beligium during a friendship pact with Sri Lanka in the 1980s. They have electricity through solar cells and collect rain water through filters for drinking water.
People here seem to like it slow. Here are some conversations I have overheard. First in the news, people are talking about a bomb blast in Colombo that killed 4 people yesterday and also about the a minister that was killed. Right now, I don’t know if it’s confirmed but people think both were done by the LTTE.
Jan 2nd, I was on the road all day. I met my grandfather’s little sister and her family. She was so happy that I came that she almost cried. She held my hand for like 15 min. We talked about my grandfather (he died when I was 3 in Sri Lanka). We also got to visit my dad’s old elementry school. My dad seems to enjoy how most things in the village have not changed much. 2 people saw me and they thought that my dad had somehow grew young by being in the US. My dad’s village is in the middle of a rubber plantation. Even though it’s a private plantation it isn’t separate from the rest of nature. There are also tea, rice paddies and other trees around the area. It’s lots of different pretty shades of green.
On Jan 1st, we visited a Tsunami refugee camp. There were 30 families there. We asked what they would like and they asked for shoes for the children. We tried to get all the right sizes as best as we could, but there was a mistake with some of the girls’ shoes and toddlers’ sizes. We felt bad we couldn’t help everyone, but nobody was angry. We called DSI, the shoe company, and asked them to let those people exchange the shoes. Hopefully it will work out. We also bought some rice, sugar and milk powder for each household. One of us immediately gave a huge sum of money to expand our group’s “share the love fund”. We played with the kids and talked to some of the folks. They feel forgotten and frustrated that they can’t get out of the temporary camp. The houses are made of sheet metal and are like ovens in the day time. We heard the story of a 3month year old baby that was knocked out of the dad’s hands during when The Tsunami hit. The baby was miraculouly stuck in a coconut tree and found after a few hours. Another baby was stuck in barbed wire and died while a woman tried to untangle the baby from the wire. While we were playing with the kids one of them fell and hit his head on a rock and Sonali rushed with the boy’s father to the doctor in a three-wheeler. It cost about 200 rps. ($2 US) to get stitches and an ice cream. He came back all good.
Another one of us gave a lady running the wholesale store we bought goods at 2000 rupees to buy some gifts and visit the camp with friends. We also did the same thing with our friend from the Hotel we stayed at, Nishanta. We tried our best to remind people not to forget and begin some good conversation as best we could.
We stayed in a wonderful hotel right next to the beach near Matara. The staff and owner helped us out a lot. Here is the address: Beach Inn, Beach Rd, Madiha - Matara, Sri Lanka, Tel: 041-2226356. They fed us very well and took great care of us.
On Dec 31, we went to another Tsunami Camp. This one had 17 families. We also bought them some food (rice and paripu–dahl). This camp had families that were “sub-families” from a house that was lost to the Tsunami. The new houses that were built are not big enough to hold more than one family. Most of the families are young.
Here are some stories I’ve overheard: My dad’s friend didn’t have change in his pocket when a beggar asked for some money. He said he’ll bring it tomorrow but never saw him again; he felt bad about not doing something at the moment. Kuncuhn (a green plant used in malun) needs to be dried when grown in the Central North province otherwise you get loose stools and phlem. There are 2 kinds of bananas, ambulata and colikootung, one will help with diahrea while the other will make your stools more loose. When driving you should go behind a cow (they are stubborn and will keep going forward) while you can go in front of a dog (he will follow the path of the car if you try to go behind him). There is a very noticiable common courtsey when driving on the roads that’s common to both Sri Lanka and India that I’ve noticed. People are more aware of judging who should go first because there are not many rules of the road.
First Visit back
This picture was taken on our first visit back home. This is what my dad calls "our paddy field".
I've only been back to Lankava twice. This first visit back was to attend my uncle's wedding.
I was glad we got to see my dad's village and his old house.
This page will be dedciated to my dead grandfather, Ananda. He died of Luekemia a few months before we came to the US. He was a very enlightened but very simple man. He could tell you everything about the world in a few sentances or one story.
Even though I was 4 when he died, I'm convinced that I learned at least 75% of what I know because of him.
- Pros:friendly people, beautiful tropical island filled with culture and histroy
- Cons:Stupid Politicians and a mad man waging "war" over a line he wants drawn on the map.
- In a nutshell:Need to go back home before I die
There is a mysterious edifice in the village of Nalanda. It is a Tantric Buddhist structure from the 8th Century.... more travel advice
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