March 20, 2012
By Simon Chambers
PWRDF currently has a nine-member delegation visiting the Organization for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR) in India and Sri Lanka as we continue to accompany the Tamil refugees OfERR serves as they begin the process of returning to Sri Lanka from India. The members of the delegation are acting as guest bloggers on the PWRDF blog. Today’s entry comes from Cody McKay, a PWRDF Youth Council member from the Diocese of Fredericton.
Today marked our long return from the North East of Sri Lanka, back to Colombo. While the drive was long (if you remember from our trip up, the approximately 300km takes six to seven hours!), we made the best of it by a great visit in the city of Anuradhapura. This city houses a massive Buddhist temple, what I thought looked like the St Peters Cathedral of Buddhist temples, as well as the Tree of Life, a branch brought by the Buddha and planted over 2000 years ago. If the history didn’t get you, the monkeys were sure to! The clan sat in groups of 6-30, and their antics were hilarious to watch.
Finally around 7pm we were back where we started in Colombo: the Berjaya. While I think I speak for all of us, I’ll keep this much personal. We have all returned to Colombo, with a much different view than when we left. I remember when we landed in Colombo asking myself, “How is it possible a place so beautiful, so clean, so westernized, could be full of such ethnic tension?” The answer has slowly presented itself to us over the past week; our drive north quickly showed that there was more to the country than meets the eye. Underneath the picturesque postcard beaches, is a country of poverty. We have heard the stories of the Tamil people, both those in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, and those who have returned. While we have had times of inspiration, and met some truly amazing people, it is clear that there is still a lot to accomplish. Sri Lanka has proven the old saying true, “There is more than meets the eye”.
That being said, I should mention where the title of the blog got its inspiration. Our drive home taught us one more important lesson. We were repeatedly almost run off the road by big buses– they drove like they owned the road. So the bigger your ride, the more power you have to push people around. Here in Sri Lanka, when it comes to rules of the road, size matters!