Are you missing the Josephs for the Emperor?


In any country if you look at the leaders, the politicians and corporate big influencers you soon run out of a good mood and a feeling of despair threatens to cancel that online subscription that depletes your morning energy by half. On the other hand however, if you are in conversation with people who actually walk around a country like Sri Lanka which is small but packed with big minds ideas and colourful professionals doing stuff with the communities that live there you never run out of ideas or steam, energy or renewed commitment to supporting the country as in her people and her children.

Looking back on the first two days this week am amazed at the diversity of people I have talked to and the depth of emotion, sentiment and colour that they have brought into my life.

Fazana who told me in strict no-nonsense tones that the week was constructive cos instead of sitting in another useless meeting she, with her team freshly painted the new donated toilets to a little village in Mankulam.  The older generation had to go into the jungle she said.   The energy I feel when I work with the North sustains me. Maybe cos there is nothing and we are starting from scratch. There we were in the incredible heat, sweating away, being coaxed with that drink made from lime leaves and I got two divul gediyas as a farewell gift and a great community feeling. “Where do you stay overnight Faz” I asked her.  In Mankulam itself, it’s basic and we gotta walk a couple of kilometres to get there – Killi has better accommodation but I prefer to stay around the village. I’ve been house to house in that village.  Fazana also works with the Southern villages – around 40 of em networked into the Centre of Excellence called the Foundation of Goodness at Seenigama. Later one day I will talk through Kushil Gunasekera’s inspiration energy and work as it’s all too much for the less than 3 minute read for your mid morning break.

Then there was Dileni Gunawardene a respected and leading economist of Sri Lanka teaching at Peradeniya University.  The exchange we had centres on the unique Master of Development Practice (MDP) offered by the Peradeniya University, which I will feature on iSrilankan shortly so I won’t say more. She is a dedicated and credible expert and Sri Lanka and her young students are better off for having people like her around.
“Where there is a will there is a way” said Sarvi, Muttukrishna Sarvananthan from the Point Pedro Institute of Development, last afternoon. If the Diaspora really wish to invest their skills and expertise in Sri Lanka and we are lobbying the government for measures that may ease this process, they could. In my own family I am the only son who came back. My brothers are in the UK and well, I was never really an urban person so here, where I was born, where my roots are in Point Pedro is where I wish to be. Sarvi has studied and researched in New Delhi, Wales, Washington and Australia.  Look out for Sarvi’s interview on iSrilankan in the next weeks.

I received a photoessay of wonderful images  from Sharni Jayawardene who is well-known in Sri Lanka and her photocapture of the Veddhas in the Kiran area of Batticaloa is mesmerising. The Image of the Week today is from this series.

So while there is justified critique of what’s wrong with the politicians and what a mess, etc, despair and desolation are not realistic emotions and do not do credit to where we have come from and who is deserving out there.  Many pay their respects to Sri Lanka by a token sponsorship of a child or some such but have given up on the people and the people who are still leading the community out there.

They cannot see the technicolour dreamcoat and the young Josephs who need that good break, who are talented and need a little sustained belief in what they have to offer while they whine on about the Emperor, who, as the fable revealed is not wearing any clothes.


  1. I agree 100 per cent with you, Gaya. These are good examples of a bunch of great people doing amazing things in Sri Lanka, against a lot of odds. They need the recognition, support and goodwill of us all in their engagement.

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