Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ratnapura Dharmapala College , Yohan's Perspective

by Yohan Perera

Our first thoughts on going to Ratnapura was negative. The main reason being the workshop at Kegalle Balika and the fact that we had to travel 2 and half hours for one school. It was my Manjula, Alex, Thushan and myself who left to Ratnapura at 4am on the 14th of October 2011. We didn't know what awaited us but Alex had a hunch that it was going to be something well planed. 

His words were right cause the moment we got down, there were students dressed up in vivid national costumes representing the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Indeed a shocker for all of us. Being 19, it was a very moving experience when small kids gave betel leaves and worshipped us. That was just the begining. The assembly was packed with cultural dances, acts ,songs etc. We felt that the whole team should have been their to experience the amazing commitment and the sense of love that the people in Rathnapura had towards the cause.
Reconciliation was not a new word for them because their school had so many quotes regarding peace and hope. After the assembly they gave us a small token to show their appreciation and this was the first time a school treated us so well. Their hearts were transparent. The students there were filled with loving words and caring gestures. The Deputy Principal of the school was very enthusiastic about the whole concept of youth led reconciliation. He was taken up by Thushan's contribution to SLU. And as always Thushan made many friends.

We all left with a warm feeling in  our hearts. Knowing that we have made lasting friendships and won a part in the hearts of the people in Ratnapura. Let us Reconcile, Let us do as much as we can to make a sustainable change.

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