Monday, July 4, 2011

Kelani Nadee Yathra - What Yathrees will see.....

Meeting at Yatiyantota
ECO-V members had a another visit on the 25th of June to Sri pada mountain ( Adam's Peak) to check the route  of Kelani Nadee Yatra. This is also a Thiresi charika where ECO-V members get to gether to watch nature. With the preparation for Kelani Nadee Yathra, our members have become more active and most of them want to contribute to it. We had few planning meetings with officials at Yatiyantota Pradeshiya Sabawa the local government at Yatiyantota. The chairman of Pradeshiya Sabhawa, MOH, A police officer, two Principals, members of local security council, youth council representatives, business men and some media representatives were there for the meeting.  They all were very happy and pledged the support for the journey in August. Thanks to the chairman we had our lunch free of charge from a well known hotel in sitting next to Kelani river. 

Beginning of kelani River
team coming down from peak
Same day evening we met Neal who was our guide to show us the beginning of kelani river. We all went to Wathsala Inn in Nallathanniya and met Nimal, who was very supportive from the day he heard about Yatra. He prepared our dinner (Rotti) and we started climbing at 8.30 in the night. Wow!! what an experience..climbing Sri Pada at night during off season (I have done this during day time when we conducted research at off season in 2002-2004). When we were reaching the peak it was around 1a.m. We all had to face heavy clouds and wind. We all got wet by the time we reach the peak (7360 ft) and it was very cold. Thanks to Sunil Aiya care taker at the peak a friend of Neal we had warm coffee and mats to sleep. It was not very comfortable as the wind was so powerful and floor was damp and cold. However after 3 hrs of rest we got up from our (non) sleeping areas and got ready to come down. No sun rise was seen as it was too cloudy that day and came down through the heavy fog from Ratnapura route. After coming down Neal took us on another foot path which joined with Nallathanniya route again. Its a known thing that most of the people who climb up will be accompanied by one or two dogs. We got 4 of them during our trip. 

It was a small water fall we saw as "the start" of the kelani river. According to Neal its one of the starting places but there are few more and its normally a creek but due to heavy rain it has more water at the moment. So we decided not to climb up again following the water fall to see the actual beginning.  By that time we all were so tired and wet. After that we all came down slowly along Nallathanniya route and came to Colombo on 26th evening. We all were tired and legs were aching but feeling happy about wonderful "Thiresi Charika"

"Thiresi kids" were waiting for me for their lessons but I was too tired to speak again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Westgarth Mothers in Melbourne helps a teenage mothers home in Sri Lanka

Mrs. Neetha Ariyaratne, head of Sarvodaya Suwasetha handing over items

I am very happy to say that our fund raising effort with Westgarth Mothers had a great positive impact. We were able to help 20 distitute teenage mothers at a residential facility in Sri Lanka. “Ma Sevana” (A home for pregnant teenage mothers) is a home run by Sarvodaya a well known charity in Sri Lanka. Both me and Thushara are volunteers to this charity Thushara had been looking after these young mothers as the doctor before we went to Melbourne in 2010. We always celebrated our sons  Birthdays with them by giving essential to these needy young girls and their new born babies.
Out of money we collected by organizing a  Sri Lankan meal at Libby’s place in last February ( we were able to donate Rs. 30,000 worth of essentials for these mothers and thier newly born babies. I thank again all the Westgarth Mothers and fathers who attended the fund raising lunch we organized and the real commitment of Libby and her family.  
As another mission with the money we collected, we started a scholarship for an Advanced level needy student who performed well at her school. She is having a great difficulty in continuing her studies as both parents do not have proper jobs. This girl was very clever at her studies and extra curricular activities. She is doing mathamatics subjects for her advanced level exam in year 2014. With a recommendation of a local municipal council member and ECO-V volunteer Sajith Peiris, me and Thushara visited her home and met her parents before the scholarship was given.  We both felt she is well deserved and agreed to support her for 6 moths with 15 dollars per month. If we were able to raise more funds in future we can continue scholarship and support many students like her as we got many requests so far.