March 20th, 2013
Following on from yesterday after an inspiring presentation delivered expertly by Jie Chen from Crissy Fields Centre, San Francisco, USA. About his work with the youth from different neighborhoods around SF, very similar to the Yathras of Paapedi being from all parts of Sri Lanka. One of the key points I noted was how the aim was to not only give the youth the knowledge and information required but to allow the group of individuals to work as a team and equip them with the tools to be able to manage their own projects designed and created solely by them so they can relate to it on a personal level. This helps to build up a lot of skills required in implementing and running projects which would inspire them to be leaders in future.
The learnings gained from the different approach and methods of Crissy Fields Centre led by Jie Chen, opened up new ideas and possibilities to the current Yathras eagerly listening, as some more than others could relate directly to their own lives and to their own projects as thy themselves were mentors for others. This created a new dynamic within the team, which was interesting to see. And was shown during the rehearsals of a new street drama which was delivered today at Kurunegala underground road crossing system in the city center.
The first performance was great to see as it was nice to see it being performed by a group of people different to the previous. It actually involved a set of 3 acts each delivering a different key message. As the quieter members of the group having had time to settle take the initiative and want to play more prominent roles in the street drama. I myself had a part to play, albeit very small! But it was exciting to feel even more involved. The second performance was acted out at Kurunegala bus station. The area was vast and it was very difficult to be heard. It was cut short in part by the noisy buses and their blaring horns but the Yathras showed great initiative as they split themselves into two groups and tried to cover 2 sides of the bus station., in trying to maintain the group of people that had gathered. Before dispersing into smaller groups to deliver the awareness messages on issues around protecting the environment.
During the remainder of the day either side of the street dramas, to further water tests were carried out at Saragama Wewa (tank) and Kurunegala Wewa. At Saragama Wewa, refreshingly the water was of pH7 (neutral), so of rinkable nature, but unfortunately iy was polluted with polythene bags and aluminium cans, which was a shame making it undrinkable.
We also visited our first Hindu Kovil (Temple), which was a very pleasant experience for all. In particular for me being a Hindu it was a very peaceful and serene experience. It was special for me as it allowed for me to just be..and rest my mind and focus on God bu chanting prathnas. The start of Paapedi began with a blessed visit to the sri Maha Bodi and I wish for the latter part of the journey to go by equally as safely and even more successfully. And hope each of the Yathras find their purpose and are able to fulfill what they came looking for.
As we approach the latter part of this memorable journey and the hustle and bustle of city life, it is now vitally important to deliver an even bigger impact on the people and society as news of our actions spread and stimulate a greener more eco-friendly way of life.