Saturday, February 26, 2011

“Westgarth Mothers” Join with Eco Friendly Volunteers’ mission

Westhgarth Mothers Group (WMG) is a small group of parents at my kids school who have got together to help ECO-V’s annual help kids program. Helping around 50 kids to go to school every year by donating all the books and stationary was an annual program we ran under ECO-V. This was done with the help of “Friends of ECO-V” in Sri Lanka and abroad. Now WMG will be with us in the future projects. See our earlier blog ( on our work.

Libby and Me
During our stay in Melbourne for a year, we came across many great friends through the Westgarth Primary school in Northcote where our kids attend. Libby (whose daughter Labanya was with Nipuna at grade 1 last year) got the idea when I discussed the work I done so far with her and she suggested to have a fund raising event to help needy kids in Sri Lanka. She came up with this brilliant idea of having a Sri Lankan lunch for her friends as a fund raising event. It was such a fun event! We organized it on the 5th of February at Libby’s place. We expected at least 20 people but what a day! we got 28 adults and 25 kids!!! Parents helped us to cook a Sri Lankan meal while kids were playing happily. It reminded me arms giving in Sri Lanka as all helped us to prepare the meal. It was a learning experience for most of them as no body had experience in cooking Sri Lankan curries. I gave instructions to moms to cut the vegetables, anions and green chilies.Some happily rolled cutlets and wrapped them with bread crumbs. Some fathers fried papadam and cutlets and some arranged them on banana leaves…what a day…!! when everything was ready by 1.30 pm, all were exited about the food as they all loved the aromatic smell of spices.
 We ended up cooking rice, spicy chicken curry, parippu (dhal), mild cucumber curry, cabbage mallum, cutlets (Tuna balls), papadam, and avocado as a dessert. Libby and I explained the purpose of the event and we conducted a fun event distributing a questionnaire prepared about Sri Lanka. It was named as “Are you smarter than a grade 4? ” .
 Latter Buhusuru who is in grade 4 had to correct all the answers…surprisingly no body got all 5 questions correct. Most of them didn’t know about the way of greeting in Sri Lanka “Ayubowan” (meaning-may all living beings live long) but they all were able to name 3 popular cricketers in Sri Lanka!

 At the end of the day we were very happy and got enough money to run few more projects for the kids this year. It will be used to help needy kids when I go back to Sri Lanka next month. We also got many story books for the kids in Sri Lanka. What a wonderful day!! Thanks to Libby and her family who enthusiastically organized the event and I think it’s a long lasting bond between Westgarth Mothers and ECO-V.
Thank you for all who really had the warm hearts to donate towards this mission. Looking forward to keep you updated about our projects. Your friendship helped us to have a wonderful stay in Northcote! Thanks to Jemma (Libby's elder daughter) we have these photos and will try to arrange a slide show with more photos soon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Diaspora Sri Lankans and Crystal waters - Queensland

Happy 10th Birthday  ECO-V!!!! - Thank you for all the members volunteers, and well wishes who have been supporting us to come this far!

We meet lot of Sri Lankans from all communities while we are here. Most of them want to do something for the country and they want to promote Sri Lanka and our rich heritage. There are quite a few who look at negatively about Sri Lanka and appreciate their life here. We don’t blame any one but they should not forget that most of them are sons and daughters of our country who have been educated with poor tax payers’ money. They can have their own vision but please do not criticize and compare. Try to pay your debt to the poor people who paid for your education. We need all brilliant people who have left the country if country has to develop.

Dimuthu and Niru
I met this amazing young couple Dimuthu and Niru who are trying to do something to promote our culture and heritage in Australia. We shared a common interest mainly love for your motherland and its heritage and eco friendly life style with minimum impact on mother earth. It does not matter where you reside or what you do. I am grateful to my new friends Dimuthu Dias-Mendis who is the founder of “Ariona” and her husband Niru Mendis, who took the trouble to give me this great experience at Crystal Waters – A permaculture village ( Dimuthu is promoting our Auyrveda treatments at Crystal waters village while dedicating her time to Ariona to promote Sri Lanka.

Crystal waters

Free roaming Wallabies

“Crystal Waters” is in Brisbane, Queensland. It was such a wonderful place to live. I was lucky enough to spend a night at the village and visit around the village meeting some like minded people learning and sharing their experience. Over two hundred residents of all ages coming from many cultural backgrounds live on 85 private one acre plots. Two community plots are owned by a co-operative of residents containing buildings for community events and for the operation of businesses. Residents are engaged in a wide variety of social, cultural, environmental and spiritual activities.  Many homes are built from an interesting array of eco-friendly materials. Mud brick, pole- frame, rammed–earth, recycled and straw bale dwellings are found on the community. Most homes has the common features such as compost toilets (which reminded me our early days at village based life style), solar passive design and energy saving devices. The land is a sanctuary for wildlife. Meeting with free ranged wallabies and possums and eating home grown organic vegetables was wonderful experience .

community centre
Max and me
 I also got the opportunity to meet Max Lindegger whom I knew through Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka. He is the creator and Director of the Oceania/Asia secretariat of the Global Eco-village Network. He is a primary partner in the design and development of the Crystal Waters. Learning more about permaculture concept, sharing Sri Lankan experience (Max was very passionate about Sri Lanka and Sarvodaya) and looking at his bee keeping was a wonderful experience.
It an amazing experience to watch Rainbow lorikeets and Crimson Rosella that were sitting with us. They were trying to grab our cookies when we were chatting at Max and Trudies’s balcony facing the lovely landscape in their garden. I was always thinking about our village life style where people live with nature with a minimum impact on Nature. I think we had that life before the TV and other electronic devices invaded us. Can we go back to that life style again?? I think up to certain level we can if only you are ready for a behavioral change!

I thank Dimuthu and Niru for giving me this lovely experience!! May your all good dreams come true!