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|Year and Month||08-09 Mar, 2014|
|Number of Days||2|
|Crew||Athula, Tony, Sheham and Me|
|Accommodation||Kohonawala Praja Shalawa cum Temple|
|Transport||By Car/On Foot|
|Activities||Charity Work, Photography, Hiking etc…|
|Route||Dehiwala->Kottawa->Kolonnawa->Avissawella->Badulla->Kahataruppa->Urumeethenna->Kohonawala and return on the same road.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
Take the Badulla-Passara Road and at 2km point turn to the left which is Hanwella Road. There’s also a sign of the Cullen Estate near the road name so you can’t miss it.
From there the Kahataruppa (which is also called Pela Bodhiya) is about 13.5km away. It’s a 4-way junction and take the right towards Hospital. (This road is carpeted and in very good condition)
Just passing the hospital is a bus stop with a left hand side road that runs to Urumeethenna about 3km away. (This road is concreted at places especially the first km or so. However not suitable for a low ground clearance vehicle.
We managed to do it in our Toyota Corolla Wagon nonetheless but it was thanks to expert driving of Sheham and Athula. Can’t recommend it). If you manage to go that far, the monk will arrange for you to leave your car at a house.
From Urumeethenna to Kohonawala Temple is about 5km and the Loggal Oya flows about 2.5-3km from the Urumeethenna village. (This road is in terrible condition. Would require a 4WD to tackle this.)
Crossing the river can be nightmarish if the water levels are high. So avoid it at all times. Tuk tuk will charge about Rs. 1000/- to go from Kahataruppa to the Loggal Oya which is very reasonable considering the status of the road.
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Ever since I read the article on “Kohonawala Village” on Mawbima paper, I was dreaming day and night to pay a visit. As you all know, Ashan beat me to it and it paved the way for a more comprehensive journey for us. My initial plan was to collect some money from the friends and give out exercise books and other stationery for the village kids but it had to be abandoned due to various issues. As a result, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to donate as many books as possible for the yet-to-be-open library at the Kohonawala Temple.
Having spoken to the Dhammananda Thero, who was the chief incumbent of the newly established Kohonawala Temple about one and half years ago, I got a list of the books that were required. Sheham was always willing to go and the two old fellas Uncle Tony and Grand Father Athula too joined in. As this was mainly a reconnaissance mission, I didn’t divulge the details to others. We four contributed and bought some books worth a few thousand rupees.
NG too wanted to join having heard from Ashan but there was no room for her unfortunately in the car. Despite that she too bought a lot of books and handed to us for the donation. Our plan was to leave on the 08th March and that’s exactly what we did.
The Story of Kohonawala:
—This is an isolated village completely surrounded by numerous mountains making it located in the bottom of a deep ravine. Badulla-Passara road seems to be running around this and a few other isolated villages. Namunukula-borne Loggal Oya flows between the border of Urumeethenna, the last village with main-line-supplied electricity, and Kohonawala before joining the mighty Mahaweli at Mahiyanganaya, making it further isolated.
The story behind the start of this village has many different variations. According to the folklore, they origins run far deep thousands of years backwards where the indigenous people of SL, the Veddhas, roamed this island at will. According to one old farmer, the leader of that Veddhas in the village was an elite archer. Once he won a contest of shooting an arrow through a golden ring thus getting the name “Ranpath Mudiyanselage” bestowed upon his clan. Surprisingly all the people in Kohonawala has that as their surname to-date. Everybody is called R.M. and their given name.
The second story is during the 1818 revolution, two people (sister and brother) ran away from the English hiding in this village. After some time there were kids born to them and the population grew larger since then. This too is a very possible one coz nearly everyone looks the same. They all have similar features and identical in many ways.
There are two routes to this stunningly beautiful village. One is from Kahataruppa about 15.5km away from Badulla Town and the other is from Madolsima about 41km from the Badulla town. The first one, Kahataruppa route is the sensible one as the travelling is relatively easier, especially when the Loggal Oya is in a calm and quiet mood.
The road from Kahataruppa is motorable up to Urumeethenna in a high ground clearance vehicle. From Urumeethenna it’s extremely difficult terrain but we saw a tuk tuk crawling right up to the river. The other one is from Madolsima close to the police station. There’s a sign board saying the Kohonawala Vidyala, 9.6km. This means a treacherous walk downhill to the base of the ravine (Loggal Oya Valley) where the Kohonawala village is located. (Note: According to Ashan who did this stretch some time ago, it’s about 4.5-5km in total. This 9.6km board apparently a wrong measurement)
The main income comes from the farming of paddy, pepper, vegetables and fruits. They are self-sufficient in many areas save for electricity and a proper road. Things like coconuts are hard to come by. Kohonawala School has classes up to grade 5 and above that means an 18+km up and down hike to Madolsima. Many kids don’t want to continue to do it for the next 6-8 years and leave their school life after grade 5.
There have been dramatic changes in the lifestyles of the villagers ever since Olaboduwe Dhammananda Thero arrived from Horana having seen the plight of these people. He had got ordained at the age of 16 and been a practical monk for the last 17 years. The people of the village had no idea what Dhamma means until he arrived. There were no religious rituals conducted let alone learning Dhamma.
We saw the undivided loyalty from many of the villagers to the temple and him. They treat him like their savior. Kohonawala doesn’t have a temple, and it’s temporary located at the Praja Shalawa and the monk had started building an image house and a temple from scratch with the help of various donors and villagers. Unfortunately, the going is at a snail’s speed but that hasn’t stopped the willpower of this courageous human being in a saffron robe.
He’s ordained 4 little boys and sent them for further studies to a Kalubowila Pirivena claiming that they need everything possible to improve the living conditions of the village after him. We found him to be very caring, helpful, courageous and cheerful person who has devoted his life for the well-being of these neglected people.
Anyhow, these were not without the typical obstacles that bar one’s path. He’d been repeatedly harassed by a very few people and even today, he’s living among threats and hardships. Among the many requests of the villagers, the main one is a bridge across the Loggal Oya and a better paved road to their village from Urumeethenna. Very long time ago, then divisional secretary had made a road but since his transfer from Lunugala (where Kohonawala belonged) to Passara things have taken a wrong path.
One of the interesting things about Kohonawala is that not only the people have names, but houses too bear some very thoughtfully given names such as: Bo Sevana, Thenne Gedara, Chamika Niwasa, etc.
If the powers-that-be can improve the road and build a bridge at least wide enough for a tuk-tuk and a Dimo Batta Lorry, it will help them sell their produce to the outside world easily making their lives more comfortable. We heard the farmers who grow paddy so far away from their homes (as far as 9-10km) and take them a whole day to bring a single sack of paddy to their homes. It means if they harvest 10 sackfuls of paddy, it will take them 10 days to bring them back to their homes unless they get laborers to do it paying Rs. 400/- a day.
So I bring these to you my friends who are willing to help others, and can get folks who have means to do so to get together and do something for these people in need.—
The Tour Highlights:
1. 10km of hike to Kohonawala Temple from Urumeethenna (up and down).
2. The village life of Kohonawala.
3. Treacherous 2km hike towards Madolsima with an elevation of about 450m.
4. Tasty yet unheard typical village foods.
Our plan to leave Colombo at 1am got shattered when neither Tony nor I heard from Sheham. Both of our calls went unanswered and naturally we were worried coz he’d never before been late. Tony had even undressed and gone back to sleep when Sheham called around 2am.
I got a call from a relieved Tony and we finally left for Athula’s who was sound asleep amid all these jitters. Picking him we made good time and reached Beragala when the sun was creeping up above the eastern mountain tops. Buying a few egg rolls and snapping a few more pics of this wonderful dawn, we pushed towards Haputale. The whole valley to our right was being illuminated by the vivid rays of the morning sun and it really was breath taking.
Sheham had a headache so Atha took over the driving while he had a nap. Towards B’wela we were enveloped by the mist. Driving through the misty mountains we reached Badulla around 7.30am. We quickly bought loaves of bread for breakfast and hurriedly drove along Passara road till we came to Hanwella road, 2km away from Badulla. We called the monk who had been traveling overnight and reached Urumeethenna waiting for our arrival.
The Kahataruppa road is newly carpeted and in very good condition. Finally we reached the Pela Bodhiya at Kahataruppa where the Saturday fair was in full swing. It was a wonderful experience to go back in time and see a typical village fair. What is most extraordinary thing was there were mainly elderly people and kids. Grandparents still are coming to the fair with their grandchildren, that is the norm in our good old villages.
We bought some juicy looking nearly foot long bananas 12/- each. The shop owner had a change of heart when he figured we weren’t local, otherwise it’d have been only 10/-. However, in Colombo, it’d have easily cost double that price. Driving towards the hospital we reached a junction where there was a road branching out to the right. It looked nothing like the one we were on, just a normal gravel road with plenty of rocks and pit holes scattered throughout. When we asked if it was the road to Kohonawala, people started looking at us with “Are you crazy in your head?” written all over their faces. They all as in one declared that we can’t go to Kohonawala by car. “We’re not planning to go right up to the village in the car” I tried to pacify them, “only up to Urumeethenna” I further added.
They still looked aghast. “You can’t even go that far coz the road is terrible” they insisted. “Ok, we’ll do our best and go as far as possible” Sheham chimed in. We went downhill and the road was terrible but not terrible enough to turn us around. If it was anyone other than Sheham, he would have had a stroke then and there. After a bit the road was concrete paved and we began to relax but it lasted mere seconds than minutes as it was only a short length.
This is always the case in rural areas where they concrete very short lengths of the whole road but put up the politicians’ faces on boards claiming the credit. Those boards alone must be costing quite a lot of money and they could have put it to repair the road more. Typical stinking Sri Lankan politics at work. About a km down there was a Canter lorry parked and filling a huge water tank from a nearby source. The driver like all the others warned that we can’t go any further than a few hundred meters. He then asked if we knew the road. “We don’t and never been here before either” was all we could add. But Sheham and Atha pushed on and we were most of the time walking besides the car to reduce as much weight as possible and filling the mighty holes with rocks so that the car can go.
We met a kid who said the monk was waiting and we continued our agony. People were looking at us a group of clowns had come for the annual festival. I bet they’d never seen a car on that road. Finally after so much of maneuvering around we were at the Urumeethenna. Dhammananda thero was there with a few people to greet us and we were allowed to park in the shop. The shop owners served us with tea and allowed us to have breakfast before walking another 5km to the temple. While we were finishing the meal, there were 3 guys from Kohonawala, one of them a 10-year old kid named R. M. Samantha (remember they all have the same surname), to help us carry the stuff.
We had about 30+ books and some coconuts (very scarce in Kohonawala) along with some rations for the temple. Suddha and Asela took the stuff on to their shoulders while little Samantha carried the banana bag refusing all the way to have one. The walk was a sheer climb downhill and we were in no time soaked with sweat. The monk kept telling us about the village revealing plenty of secrets. Viyan Gala, the monumental rocky mountain was towering to the North East very much similar to the Lakegala in Meemure but not so majestic. The yet-to-be-built Kohonawala temple is technically located at the base of the Viyan Gala and the monk has plans to build a Stupa on the top as many people are trying to blast it in the hope of digging some treasures.
The reason the rock got its name Viyan Gala is the kings used to place those special huts on top. Destroying the mother nature and very important archeological sites for hunting treasures is the biggest epidemic in our country nowadays. We arrived at a Bo tree named Anpitiya Bo tree due to the famous religious ceremony of “An Adeema” done to pay homage for Lord Paththini. According to the monk and villagers, nobody is allowed to drink and drive through here. The vehicle will stop and won’t start until the driver is sober again. Passing that the road runs through sugar cane fields and the treacherous hike towards Madolsima was clearly visible. We could see the mango tree under which lies one of the mostly used Ambalama in the modern era.
For a typical villager, it takes about 2hrs to hike the 9km distance (bear in mind it’s 4.5-5km according to Ashan) with an elevation gain of about 600m. However the downhill journey takes only about an hour, half the time. Madolsima is the key town for these people, especially for kids who are studying above grade 5. They have to do this 5 days a week. Just imagine walking 18+km climbing up to 2000ft every day. My legs shudder just thinking about it. We finally got down to the base of the valley where Loggal Oya flows. She was very calm and not so deep owing to less rain this time. We saw signs of sand digging but they had put up a notice giving the permit holder’s name and number. Whether they stick to the rules, only the people know.
This is where they ask for a bridge to be built. The river is about 30ft wide but when in full flow will easily double that. If the authorities can build a bridge at least wide enough for a tuk tuk, it’ll be a turning point. Having crossed the river, we started ascending and reached the first house and stopped for some water. The house bore the typically designed front area with short mud walls around and mats laid out on top for people to sit. All the houses have got a solar panel each giving them a taste of what electricity really is. I’m not sure if they know how to maintain the panel and the battery. One of the donors had given a generator to the temple housed in the community hall temporarily. Most of the media and other visitors misunderstand when the monk ask for roofing sheets, cement and metal to build a temple as they think the community hall is the temple. Well, let me tell you it’s not and the officials have asked the monk to evacuate ASAP.
He can’t start a Sunday school or do Poya rituals as there are meetings held in the hall. So it’s a dire need and if he can get the temple finished, at least partially by Vesak, it’d be a great thing. This is a good opportunity for people celebrating Vesak in Colombo very lavishly to do something more worthwhile. All the people and organizations who are screaming for the well-being of Buddhism can start by helping these extremely remote temples. People in places like these really need a place to worship their religion and when they don’t get it it’s so much easy for those extremist groups to get in and manipulate them. There’s no point shouting religious conversions if they really do something for these people in the first place without waiting for those rogue cults to take advantage of their ignorance and helplessness. We were so impressed by the will power of Dhammananda thero as he was well off in his village temple at Horana but decided to defy the obstacles and go help those who in need.
Numerous times we asked Samantha to have a banana from the sack but he adamantly refused. The monk explained saying that people don’t eat outside their houses as there’s a female devil (Yakinni) that come to haunt them if they did. Not trusting their beliefs, the monk had gone out and had a pack of rice on a rock when he heard this blood curling howl of a woman. He said the pitch of the voice is so strong it can numb you can send you nuts. So he asked us no to eat anything till we got to the temple. Also we were asked not to drink water from the Oya as tendency is so great for us to get sick. There is another devil called Great Grandpa (Muththa). What he does is excrete on the floors of the houses. When there is human excretion on the floor, they say the Muththa has come. However ever since the temple started and they started playing Pirith over the loudspeakers, these ghost problems had reduced considerably.
We met a very old person who was introduced to us as the Secretary of Defense of Dhammananda thero as he stays in the temple protecting him. Coincidentally, he is the father of Suddha. Having sweat it out like never before we finally reached the community hall cum temple around 11am. Gosh what relief to be able to put down our baggage and rest our feet and backs properly. Asela immediately put a pot on the hearth boiling water for us to have a cuppa tea. The monk had arranged for a nearby house to boil some freshly dug 100% organic manioc with a unique Lunu Miris. The elderly man brought them immediately and set about serving us. You drink plain tea with sugar before meals and after a while have the meal, usually yams, and drink plain tea again without any sugar. It tastes grand, I can tell you folks.
The special Lunu Miris is made of 12 different varieties of chilies (Miris and Kochchi). You gotta see it with your own eyes guys. The dark mud green very thick broth like Lunu Miris is the hottest thing I’ve had to date and might well be for my whole life. It tastes so delicious and manioc disappeared in seconds. Unlike normal chilly flavor your tongue doesn’t get hot by this but the inner walls of your mouth. You just need a pinch of that to demolish a plate of any kind of yam. We devoured on the meal and the sugar-free plain tea which followed afterwards was heavenly. After the hearty meal my legs complained of lack of exercises. Now would you believe that? I’d been walking well over 6km laden with the baggage but the legs saying not enough. What crazy legs I’ve got.
There was this Mama who talked very passionately about Kohonawala, especially the hardships they have to undergo. He willingly offered to take us on a village tour and we jumped in. There were a lot of kids hanging around the temple coz the monk is so kind. He has started farming and boasts all kinds of green leaves, vegetables, yams and fruits. To be honest, he’s self-sufficient save for rice and coconuts. The villagers bring him the alms for both morning and lunch but he doesn’t need to depend on them. What he says is that there might be a time the villagers not able to provide him with food, so he should be able to find his own. He’s been to a Aranya Senasana (temple in the jungle) and claims that the Buddhist monks are taught everything from cooking to construction to sewing. That is taught so that they can survive with minimal facilities and improvise on what little is available. For us, he’s done just that, living on the bare minimum and improving what is available.
We went to the half-finished image house and foundation laid temple waiting for someone to do the needful. Samantha’s brother R. M. Vajira joined us too. The small shop that is the only one in the village belongs to Samantha’s and his father had given the land for the temple. He’s also a very capable native doctor. We went to see him but wasn’t at home so went further downhill. We came to another well-built house with a beautifully designed garden and went to say hello. This is where high ranking officials or females stay should they have to spend the night in the village. The aunty had just come from Kahataruppa fair and we saw her mute daughter. There are two mute people and a disabled kid for the whole village and Sheham said it could be due to marriages from the same family. However monk disagreed saying there were only 3 people like that and all the others are in very good health conditions. Nevertheless we noticed the identical facial features of the people. They all look more or less the same.
We didn’t see any youths, say age between 20-30 and when asked our guide Mama said they had all gone out of the village and not likely to return. Mama asked if we wanted to visit the disable 9-year old boy and we went to see him. What a tragedy it is. He’s been lying on his back ever since he was born and suffering from born deformation. The mother and sister were there and according to Mama, she has to stay 24/7 by him to attend to his needs. If anyone can donate a slanting wheel chair, that would be a great thing. However we heard that the government is giving the family Rs. 3000/- a month and even built a small house. His father had been admitted to Badulla hospital with fever making life even more difficult for them. That boy can’t speak, he keeps making a noise that none can figure out. Doctors have written him off claiming that can’t be cured. We gave some money for them and left towards a world’s end like place.
We had to walk along a rocky surface and when raining it’d be impossible. The whole area would turn into a giant waterfall during rains. At the end of was a sheer drop of about 400-500 feet. Mama said Suddha’s brother had fallen off while chasing a chameleon and died long ago. The place looked very dangerous and we did short video clips Mama telling us about the village and its history.
Then on the return journey we spotted a crystal clear rocky pool and Tony and I wanted to go for a dip. Samantha and Vajira looked excitedly while we jumped in and splashed like kids. Sheham and Atha couldn’t resist further and they jumped in too. The crystal clear cool water washed away our fatigue in seconds. Funnily the tiny fish residing in the pool started feeding on our skin softly gnawing at our feet. Tony was struggling as for him it was very tickling. He kept shouting amid laughter from all of us, even from kids. You can see the fish therapy video below.
After a mind and soul lifting bath, we got back to the temple to see the monk cutting pumpkin leaves (Wattakka Dalu) for the dinner. There was a Kesel Muwa and it too was plucked while the first ever harvest of Thibbatu from his farm was readied with others. He sent Suddha to buy some Kerosene for the generator claiming he can’t keep us in the dark amid our heavy protests. It was so good to see how closely he associated with the villagers as they kept coming to see him after the day’s choirs. We saw one person carrying a 8-foot roofing sheet on his back from the river, about 2km all on his own. That’s their commitment for the temple.
The dinner was coming nicely. Sliced Kesel Muwa mixed with Thibbatu and tempered dried fish made my mouth water. Pumpkin leave mallung added those punchy flavors. To cool everything down was a sweet smelling Kiri Hodi. The rice was red and organic. We didn’t see any sign of chemicals. It tasted super tendering every morsel of food nursing our tasty buds. That was one the best meals I’d ever had. We saw the people coming down to the village from thousands of feet above from Madolsima. We tested our long range torches around the mountains and were ready to hit the sack by 9. It was a rollercoaster day and we had plans to climb up to the Ambalama on the following morning. The sleep came ever so slowly from the toes through the veins right up to the head and we were dead to the whole world. Not even Yakinni or Ghost of Muththa could wake us up from our reverie.
As usual we beat the 5am alarm and were up and aimed our torches out hoping to get a glimpse of the misty mountain tops. The previous day the monk predicted that we might not get up till about 10am and would feel the tiredness. Little did he know we were hard core types, may not be as tough as the villagers but we could take a beating. Having folded the mats and sheets, we washed our faces while the morning came fast. Just so you know, the story about the sun rises at 9am and sets around 3-4pm is not correct. What really happens is the sun rays hit the village about 9am and leaves around 3-4pm. Most think it’s dark till late morning and then gets dark late afternoon but it’s not true. This happens as the whole village is located in a deep ravine completely surrounded by over 1000ft high mountains. So they block the sun rays reaching the village itself till about 9am and 3-4pm. Because of this there’s a gloominess hovering around the village. But it is not like many speculate. That was the main reason I wanted to spend overnight.
Samantha who was supposed to guide us up the hill early morning was fast asleep even at 6.30am and Suddha was mumbling in his sleep. So we decided to make it on our own and left at 6.35am. It’s not rocket science as the path was pretty much clear and we started ascending, we met few others heading uphill overtaking us with no problem. Previous evening Suddha claimed he takes about 45mins to reach the Ambalama so we figured it would take us about 2hrs. Walking continuously uphill took its toll on our knees and joints but we weren’t gonna give up that easy. Taking frequent breaks and drinking water we reached the place called Galpoththa in about an hour and I decided to call the temple and woke them up. We could clearly see the temple and when called the monk was surprised to see us getting there that quick. He said manioc curry was in order and to take care.
Then we heard the good news of Sri Lanka winning the Asia cup finally breaking their habit of making it to the final and losing it. I was sick of our team always being the bridesmaid. We all cheered for our boys about 850m above with a magnificent view of the mountains. We could clearly see the path we took from Urumeethenna and the Kahataruppa mountains. There was another temple about 9km away from the Kohonawala temple on top of a rock and accessible easily by road from Kahataruppa. We came across a serpent that was looking for a breakfast. Sheham, who had studied extensively about them, recognized it to be not poisonous. Viyan Gala rose majestically and morning sun rays lighted the tip of it beautifully. Sun was rising directly from Madolsima end. We finally reached the Ambalama by 8am, just under 1.5hrs. Our spirits rose 10ft at our achievement and we took a long break savoring this unprecedented beauty all around.
It was also very heart breaking to see what the villagers have written on the roof and walls claiming nobody cares about them or their well-being. Gosh, why can’t those politicians who go begging for their votes can’t do something for them. Just give them the road and the bridge across Loggal Oya, that’s all they ask for. Other things will follow automatically. Ironically, these people have to climb this 9km stretch to go and cast their votes too. Why on earth should they bother, I kept wondering. Previous evening we saw hundreds and thousands of mangoes that had fallen under the trees without being used. According to our guide Mama, they don’t have the means to take them either to Kahataruppa or Madolsima to sell as there is no proper road or a bridge. What a waste? We’re spending millions importing chemicals induced Apples, Oranges and Grapes while our own organic Mangoes rot under the trees in thousands. If those villagers can sell a mango for just 1 rupee, they could make a lot money and we’d get to buy those for a reasonable price.
Having taken a long break we decided to push a bit further towards the patch of turpentine trees. All in all, we hiked for 2km and climbed to a height of over 1000m from around 600m mark from the village. Madolsima was another 7km away with at least another 300-400m elevation. But we had no time to do the full stretch. In the meantime I decided to shoot a short video of the old musketeers going down.
We retraced our steps back to the Ambalama where I shot another short documentary while Sheham and Atha went ahead of us.
We witnessed the sun rays hitting the village around 9am from Ambalama. Climbing down wasn’t that easy due to the steepness of the path yet we made good time. On the way downhill we met more people going to Madolsima. We came across some pineapple plants with pineapples. Most of them were still green but one of them had that deep red which I adore. Unfortunately none of them was yet edible and we were ravenous after the laborious task. We reached the temple by 10am sharp, taking 3.5hrs to finish the whole journey. The manioc curry was in the works with a deep yellow and a hunger inviting smell. The monk was cutting a special kind of leaves called, if I’m not mistaken, Thamberiya that you don’t get in many other places. We were looking forward to this feast while Asela served us tea.
There was a meeting taking place at the community hall and we thought it would be best if we left before that. After the Buddha Poojah and monk had his lunch, we were invited for yet another sumptuous meal of Rice, Manioc Curry, Thibbatu Salad and Thamberiya Mallung. Wow, what a meal it was. There were a lot of people who had come to visit the monk and they were delighted to see us. They were very curious about our state of the art torches and cameras and kept patting them at every opportunity.
Finally it was time to bid farewell for this wonderful village and its people, especially the kindly monk who is trying really hard to make this a better place for the next generation. We didn’t forget to make a small donation to the construction of the temple. I know what’s going on many people’s minds now. Coz the same thing was in my mind before coming to this place and see it with my own eyes. Thanks to the things happening in the world nowadays we live in, we tend to look at things and people suspiciously. It’s natural you know coz this world is full of crooks, liars, cheaters, etc. We’ve been deceived and taken for granted countless times and now we just don’t trust anyone or anything. However we felt this monk is different and for real. He said so far he had received donations worth around 275,000/- both money and equipment. He’s keeping records should anyone wanna see. He’s the unofficial records keeper of the village as he has details of all the villagers. He’s even helped most of them to obtain NICs.
But from what we’ve seen I can tell you that they don’t need subsidies such as Samurdhi. All they need are a bridge, properly paved road and a temple with a Sunday school and a library. The monk had sent the 4 small monks for further studies at a Pirivena in Kalubowila coz they will be the future leaders for the village. I’ve given the bank account number of the temple should you wanna contribute. However if you are not comfortable giving money, you could always donate materials such as cement, 8-feet roofing sheets and metal. Further books for the library will be very welcome, they don’t have to be brand new, if you have books on you that are no more in use, please give them away to a place like this without offering them to the termites.
We walked back to the river while Samantha tagging along with us all the way coz he felt sad about our leaving. He kept asking when we’d be back. By the way Sheham has plans to help with solar lighting to the temple if possible. We recrossed the Loggal Oya having folded our shorts shorter. Samantha bid farewell to us and ran back to the lost world. Walking the rest of the journey to Urumeethenna left us gasping for air all the way. About half way through, there was a rustling on the side of the road. When inspected closely it turned out to be one the most poisonous snakes in the world, Russell’s Viper. It was so big about 3ft in length and as thick as an arm. We practically ran at the sight of it. Eventually we made in one piece to Urumeethenna and our faithful Toyota was waiting for us. Viyan Gala looked forlornly at our departure just like Lady Lakegala. Just thinking of her make me wanna see her again, soon. Who knows if she wants to see me too it’d happen sooner rather than later.
Well guys, there ends yet another fairy tale of mine and I guess this turned out longer than I first thought. I do hope I could do justice to the report and add that extra bit of flavor to Ashan’s first ever report. I’m glad I could bring their pressing issues to the awareness of the rest of the world. If they get those dreams fulfilled just like Meemure folks (Thanks to Ana and Wije) did, it would be a great relief for me too.
Thanks for reading and this is Sri signing off for now. Take care!
Please enjoy the Panos too: