Today, after an incredible breakfast of fried eggs and rice flour hoppers (delicious!!), we were off to Our Lady of Madhu shrine. On the way, the UK group was singing old and new songs: “Livin’ on a Prayer” “Waving Flag”. Such a variety of music as we rode one of the Sri Lankan, colorful buses. The bus driver made sure to stop at a statue to St. Anthony that was stationed immediately after the bridge to Mannar island. It was a good day, so I suppose his prayers, and those of his colleague, worked.
On the way to the Shrine, we stopped at the Great Tank. Over 100 acres long, it supplies water to the agricultural efforts of 45,000 families. Incredible space.
At the Shrine, we learned that at one point thousands had taken shelter from the war. This did not save them. It was bombed, destroying the church, costing many lives, and causing the amputation of many limbs. There were many women and children at the shrine and they were the largest number of casualties. As we were leaving, we saw a three legged dog with the remnants of its fourth leg twisted behind its body. I imagined that he must have been a casualty, too, if not of that specific bombing, of the war. When I asked one of the Brothers if anything had changed in the government, if there had been any change in representation of the Tamil people or even a recognition that there was wrongdoing on both sides, he said that nothing had changed. He was the same who, last night, had expressed his dissatisfaction with the government, calling it a “Stupid government”. I have said to Liz over and over again, without reconciliation measures and an acknowledgement of the past, without restorative justice and the change of the government to be representation, I fear that the civil war will happen again. This generation is tired of war, but the next and the next, who knows? Who knows how long peace will last with as much tension as this one maintains?
After the shrine, we went to a hanging bridge designed by the British about 100 years ago. The bus crossed a very small, dirt and rock bridge, that one of the Brothers told us is flooded over with water that goes 4-5 feet higher than the road in the rainy season. This is the same Brother who told Liz as she was crossing the bridge that recently some children from a school group had died crossing the bridge. I’m glad I hadn’t heard this as, crossing the bridge, I was slightly scared, especially when the boys of the UK group began to jump on the bridge. The young have no fear of death. They are mostly 18-19 years old. I am 32. I would like to have children, to live to see them grow older themselves, etc. I do not want to die any time soon. For this reason and because it’s just not smart, I do not jump on hanging bridges with rust showing on the grooves of the tin tiles and suspension wires. Maybe it’s just me.
After a brief stop at a nearby bathing area where I wondered where the women go (we’ve only ever seen men at these areas, though there was one woman there. She was doing laundry, though), we were off to another Brother house, where a Brother, Brother Reginold, was celebrating his birthday. His house greeted us all with such great welcome. It was incredible! There were fish cutlets, plenty of beer, mixed snacks (crunchy, they seemed), none of which I could eat. There were also jack fruit, mango, bananas, country fowl in a spicy sauce, rice, carrots and green peas for salad, baked chicken, and potatoes. I had arrack as well, the local coconut liquor, which is generally mixed with Sprite or Pepsi. Today it was Pepsi.
After an incredible lunch, we went for a tour of the nearby school and then it was back home to rest. On the way, one of the girls asked Liz and I about husbands and babies and the future. Liz is married; I am not, but I hope one day to have that joy. Both of us want children. I would have liked a large family, if I was younger, but I am 32. Having 2 or 3 children is reasonable. If life does not present marriage, then I will most likely adopt. I do want to be a mother. I think I have something to offer, so we will see. I’m going to learn about the local process for adoption once I get back to California. It’s already on my calendar. But it was a great conversation with a young person. She comes from a large family of 7 children and wants a large family herself. It was interesting to have the conversation with her, especially as she offered that her mother noted that though in her 20s she had the energy to run around with small children, as an older mother, she was just a better parent. Perhaps I will have such a blessing.
After a beautiful rest, I just had dinner, met a new Brother, and typed up this entry. Life in Sri Lanka is very beautiful, very full, totally relaxing, and, of course, very hot. 🙂
11C: I was here by Beyonce
4B: Script frame and Sock Puppets
4C: Script frame and Sock Puppets
10E: Another song? Still not sure on this one. Maybe “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, but more likely, we will work on our music videos for “I was here”
12 Math English: Continuation of the Trig lesson
Fast learners: Short films on personal stories and then a personal essay as homework to email me for corrections
11E: Day 3 of the TESOL lesson