A land of kiribath and kitul

සුභ අලුත් අවුරුද්දක් වේවා! இனிய புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

Screen shot 2013-03-31 at 9.56.10 AMThe government has announced when to take a bath for the old year and some of our friends are taking a much-deserved break from the heat and stress in Mirissa with the dolphins and up in Jaffna at the Keerimalai Tank—called Keeramale Ponds on FB  incidentally. Walking for a cancer hospital on a Trail south to north, the guys are cycling now around the island for cerebral palsy. Such inspiration! Yes, freedom of movement lives ok.

Screen shot 2016-04-13 at 11.47.34 AMSince 2012 when my Jaffna friend wrote an Avurudu wish from London, a lot has changed in his life on return to Sri Lanka and he evolves in his motherland. Life goes on. An Avurudu or two ago our Muslim Sri Lankan friends did not feel too secure with the racist BBS monks running amok. Since my post on the Avurudu Kumari-in-waiting Savi, desperately in need of a home four years ago, she is safely spending her teen years in a school hostel in Jaffna. She continues her education, has a guardian mother at the hostel and is visited regularly by her grandparents. We can say that her guardianship is well taken care of, considering the alternatives. Will she one day have the agency, the freedom as a human to act in her own interests? Inshallah she will, if all goes well.

The war is over. We refused to count the dead and are just beginning to count the living and take a critical look at our history and the impact of war and other events on the lives of our people. We are ready now as we ever will be, for the people of Sri Lanka democratically removed the former oppressive regime without bloodshed. Freedom of expression lives again? Yes it does.

Screen shot 2016-04-13 at 11.53.50 AMAs the Avurudu dawns, we walk through the fields of Sampur and the North-Western Province where the chronic kidney disease is killing farmers’ families and listen to the misery of the most dispossessed, the people whose predicament appeared to be overlooked for too long by too many.

Sri Lanka is not just Colombo and the ‘megapolis’ – lately trending word- it is about returning to your own land and pongal in a hut on your own land, digging a new toilet, sending your kids to school and having access to fresh clean water.  Let’s take a good long look at what the rest of us take for granted. Are we walking together? Are we taking their cause to the government of our country and asking for a better future for the abandoned Les Miserables?  There’s a space now, the freedom to travel, to express and to mobilize our communities for greater social change and equality among us. It’s upto us how we mobilize our nation and work with the government for a better harvest.

Here’s to a land of kiribath and kitul!

Images credited (in order) to Ambrosia, Natalie Soyza, and Sandya Salgado.

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