This blog is maintained by Kanchana and Thushara to update their friends on their activities with ECO-V
Friday, August 26, 2011
Planting trees and raising awareness along the Kelani River….
The spirits of the Yathrees were not dampened for a second today, despite torrential monsoon rains all morning. We are very impressed to see their persistent positive mentality on such a long journey.
We continued our environmental training of the Yathrees this morning in our stunning rainforest. We also took the opportunity to study the water quality of the Kelani River, which has become heavily laden with sediment, highlighting the importance of stopping deforestation and replanting trees to prevent erosion, soil loss, and damage to this unique river ecosystem.
We ventured further downstream to the picturesque Hakbelawaka bridge, where we met supporters from the local government, undertook an awareness campaign and planted trees. The trees were a gift from the local Chairman Pradeshiya Sabawat who has been a huge supporter of our Journey.
Chairman Pradeshiya then invited us along to his headquarters at the nearby town of Yatiyanthota, where we were met by a gathering of government officials, the local school principal, the local head monk, and other supporters. We discussed our Journey, as well as strategies to encourage more environmentally-friendly practices in Sri Lanka. The Yathrees were even given a chance to introduce themselves and individually discuss their experiences so far.
The local officials were very impressed at the progress of our rehabilitated youth from the Northern and Eastern Provinces, who joined us through the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. The Chairman then treated us to lunch, and donated many more trees to us.
We spent the remainer of the day visiting towns along the River, undertaking awareness programs and turning heads with our popular street performances.
At dusk we made our way into the mountains to our resting place at a historic hilltop temple complex, as invited by the highly-respected and charitable Mapitagama Family.