Today is a sad day for Sri Lanka. Yet again floods and land slips have destroyed parts of the country and killed an unknown number and displaced thousands.
My husband and I saw this type of devastation in 2010 when we were living in Kandy. A large rock hit the back of our house and our garden went into the house below us. Houses completely disappeared and people died as the earth and rocks landed on their houses. This was all a new experience for the protected Brits that we are.
Now the floods and landslips in Sri Lanka sound as if they have become more frequent. Climate change, population growth and more and more buildings all contribute. At night you can see lorries with illegal logs on them. I never buy mahogany furniture, although I used to.
We are privileged to put our small drop into the ocean of need in that place and in doing so, we have become attached to children and their families.
I know that communities will pull together. I am always challenged by the way they care for each other, and that included us in the landslips of 2010.
It isn’t just people caught up in this, but the animals and insects too. Insects from the jungle above us invaded our house. We were lucky to be able to go to a hotel while our house was cleaned up. In the river a small dead elephant hung from a tree.
We will be sending to the people we know and trust in Kandy and as a part of that, profits from the sales Marriage a Journey and a Dog this month, will be added to our gifts.
The Tsunami in Sri Lanka has left its scars, but life goes on after tragedy and poor people more than most know that.
The 1st picture is where a whole family died just down the road from us. The 2nd shows the tools workmen have to clear land slips. The 3rd is our front garden that was. The fourth is the tunnel that is always having land slips and holding up traffic . The 5th is our neighbor’s house being cleared of mud with a simple basket. The window is our window and shows how close a land slip came.
We will return there in October this year. (We are not affiliated to any organisation or religion).
The rocks fell on the simple houses and killed 3 children
Men at work. A common site all over Kandy. Note simple tools for big task.
This was a house it sliped down the hill and broke into thousands of tiny pieces. Including 2 cars and double garage
This school in Sri Lanka needed a relaxing and happy space which could be used by teachers and children so I set about a renovation.
In an overcrowded school for 1000 girls . I felt that a new library would give the school a heart and encourage the wonderful teachers.
We have given some books and are sending out more.
The parents of the children at this school have irregular work and reduced income.
Bureaucracy means that change happens slowly and with a shortage of money, nothing was getting done. I was grateful that they let me in and trusted me. I look forward to seeing the school again later this year.
What a privilege to see the smiles on the faces of the children and teachers.
The ledger for 5000= books. Many of them unreadable.
This school in Sri Lanka is over 100 years old and tumbling down in places. In a drab and difficult building I have decided to make a library space that is bright.
Although the space is on the small side the problems are big.
All books in the school have to be entered into a ledger. No book can be thrown away without government official approval. This should happen once a year and the number of books that can be thrown away is limited. Therefore old unreadable books remain in the limited space for a long time.
Old newspapers are collected here because they can be sold. In the damp atmosphere of the rainy season everywhere is damp and mildew grows on the walls and ceilings and of course, the books.
I am going to try and create a small oasis for learning in spite of the obstacles.
You’ve seen it all in the papers, but what I have seen and heard is a small but important part of the jigsaw.
In the poor villages a trafficker turns up. He/she tells them that if they send someone to the UK or Australia their financial problems could be answered. First give the traffickers any valuables you have and then they have a friend who will lend the villagers the rest of the money they need. They have no other information and they have heard, or think they have of that other families who have become much better off.They give everything and more, then off goes the selected young person who has no job or future in their village.
They wait and the tiniest amount of money arrives as the victim desperately tries to send something from where ever they washed up. The village struggles on to pay its debts, still hoping.
In the schools I have visited I ask heads what their pupils will do when they leave school. “They will go abroad to the UK or Australia,” is the response and the students believe this is where their future lies.
The drivers, shop workers or anyone else you meet are coming abroad to find a better future. I have talked to workers and struggled to get over to them that they could end up cold, without food, and friendless. They look at me, dewy eyed and say, “but it is my dream.”
I have talked to teachers and told them the future of their school children is where they are and a hush, cuts through the room. Without this dream what are they educating these children for. There is little but drudgery for them where they are and they are lovely intelligent children.
I still think we can educate teachers to tell their children and the children can educate the villagers. When the traffickers come calling they have some resistance. Trafficking is big, easy money. Why wouldn’t they do it? Confronting them could cost you more than money.
This is migrants and not refugees, they are a another tragic story.