Sri Lanka the experience of ordinary people

By a simple monk

On the 8 May I went up north – to a village in the war zone. This village is special. Recently LTTE bombed a bus killing nearly 80 passengers including school children and women. These innocent villagers were in camps for few weeks and went back to their traditional farm lands – weeping. Soon after the incident, bus loads of Southerners pilgrimmed to that remote village, almost 260 kilometers away from the capital city. Taking dry rations and hateful thoughts against terrorists, but now, they are almost a forgotten lot. Manel, my friend there is keen that we keep in touch with them regularly. They don’t need gifts – but our compassion. They don't need flowers – but smiles. So this is a journey to fulfill this wish. Of course I am going with 90 mosquito nets to distribute among school children in that village school without a roof. Thanks to my kind hearted friends, I managed to collect funds for another 90 nets.

There was a group of seven altogether, including two young Public Health Inspectors of that area. We visited four schools in the area and distributed mosquito nets. The schools have very few pupils, as low as 9 pupils in some schools, since the bus bomb. Some schools do not have a toilet. Pupils used to run to the jungle near by. Now due to terrorist threats the army has cleared the jungle. Most families have moved away to near by refugee camp for safety. There are a few families remaining in each village. These are the brave lot.

Malkanthi said. "There is a police post in our village. We are told to be awake especially in the night. Moment we hear three gun shots we run to the jungle. Some time dead of the night. Some times at 3.00 in the morning.  We carry nothing with us. Some times some forget to carry their children with them. Kids don't cry. They embrace us tight. They shiver. Some times tears pour down."

We traveled right into the jungle crossing some bridges not really understanding the danger, and above all not knowing when we will all get blown up. In the village closest to the defense line we met with Wickrama – an elderly farmer. He said,

"It is not only Tiger Terrorists that attack us but also elephants. They come in the night and destroy our farm lands. There is no electricity in our village. There are no proper roads. You must come and stay a night with us to know what this life is all about"

The place where the blast took place is like a cemetery today. Deep silence. You do not even hear the bird calls. I wanted to stay there for a while, to feel the pain of those who gave their lives. I got down from my jeep. Silently walked to the little bridge under which the bomb was planted. Suddenly I heard a whistle. Three army personnel appeared from the jungle, barely 19, heavily armed. Manel spoke but I said nothing. They asked us to rush back. No place in this jungle is safe.

Late in the evening I visited the camp. There are 35 families. All have lost at least one person close to them. Some kids without both parents. Some have lost more than twenty. Life is pathetic in the camp. No proper toilets. No place to bathe. They cook out side of their little one room temporary shelter. Women and children suffer the most. Once prosperous farmers now depend solely on aid.

Million Nets for Million Kids is a simple initiative by myself to distribute One Million Mosquito Nets among poorest of the poor school kids in both urban and rural Sri Lanka. Million Nets is only the soul.  If you are interested in assisting us, please write all cheques direct to RAINCO PVT LIMITED our kind hearted net producer, and post to MILLION NETS . # 003 . Mangala Mawatha . Sri Subithipura . Battramulla . Sri Lanka