One week of continuous rain in Colombo. Clashes between Muslims and Buddhists in Dambulla. Hence followed general strikes in Trincomalee and Batticoloa. Last but not least Batticoloa was hit by the tail of a cyclone.
On the way to Trincomalee in the east, it was a “must” to stop halfway at Dambulla to visit the cave temples. We had been there before but the cave temples are not without reason one of the main tourist attractions of the country. We were under the impression that Roy had passed the place as the small road that he took uphill was in terrible state.
There was a lot of construction going on and the area around the fishery harbor was hardly recognizable anymore. The deep sea harbor was growing bigger and bigger. Sadly, only in width, as it is still not possible for a tanker to enter the port. All the car imports are now supposed to be handled in the Hambantota harbor.
The bathroom for the children had been built and the outcome was very pleasant though the costs were rather high. The sum of all bills presented to us added up to Rs. 80`000 (CHF 580.-) and the Kindergarten teacher had gotten herself an interest free loan of Rs. 50`000.
The children were picked up at lunchtime and we were chatting with their teacher, when Resla suddenly appeared. She lives close by and we were taken aback: the shy girl had turned into an outgoing young lady full of self-esteem!
We were surprised to get a Christmas card from Sameela’s Mother. We had covered the costs of the boarding school for the girl from 2005 to 2007, when she graduated from high school. Her grades were brilliant and she got herself a scholarship for the university.
We were expecting the worst! After her marriage in 2009 to an abusive drug addict and on our visit in 2011, when she had the additional burden of her grandmother and a blind aunt staying at her house, we had hardly recognized her.
We also visited Sifaya with a big load of groceries and one can say that she has doubled her size since our first meeting a little over seven years ago. The extensions in the back of the house had been concluded and there was a new and stable house door.
Ruhi had a new cousin and her grades had worsened, but only in Arabic and Religion. All her other grades were brilliant as ever . She proudly was wearing a tag with the word “Monitor” on it pinned to her school uniform.
A very big surprise at the house of Maduka’s Aunt: the boy had been attending a college in Matara since last summer! He had passed his O-level test with very good marks and would go for graduation in two years at the St. Servatius College as he would like to go to the university.
We had found sponsors for both boys. This time we had the opportunity to get to know the family a bit better, and were able to join in their happiness.
On the way from Hambantota to our holiday resort in Kalutara we stopped at Tangalle to meet three year old Asjath and his Mother.
We visited a Mosque in Weligama, nestled on a cliff right atop the sea. The view was gorgeous. A big surprise was the caretaker of the Mosque: he was visibly an Arab! A lot of the Weligama population are descendants from Arab traders and obviously the community did not mingle much with the Singhalese.