By Swayer Green
The first day of the one of the most anticipated events of this year started off on a high note in one of the most prestigious cities of South Asia, Jaffna, a place that possess a rich historical and cultural value.
The day looked promising although the rain the day before kept us on our toes. With smiles filling in from all parts of the island, the excitement made the team, students, volunteers and teachers anticipate a four day roller-coaster ride full of hope, reconciliation, smiles and new friends.
The registration process began in the morning as approximately 400 students from all 25 districts strolled their way into the school premises. Long queues formed under huge astonishing trees as the students were divided into 20 different teams that represent 20 main districts in Sri Lanka; four volunteers were also assigned to each team. Each team had a good balance of gender and racial diversity.
The opening ceremony of the FLC Season 4 commenced with traditional precision as the artists welcomed the guests down the lane from the main entrance. The guests and speakers were greeted in the Jaffna Tamil manner as they entered the auditorium, in which the students, volunteers and SLU members were waiting. The opening speech was made by the principal of the host school, Jaffna College. The principal welcomed Sri Lanka Unites and the student leaders to the College that has a very rich history and amazing architectural infrastructure. After this he addressed various issues regarding the dire need for reconciliation within the ethnicities. He also pointed out the importance of this year’s season of FLC and how Jaffna could help influence the young leaders of the country as to understand and rebuild the country that was torn apart by the 3 decade long civil war.
The students, guests and other spectators were entertained by a traditional dance performed by the students of Chundikuli Girls College which was followed by a song sung by the students of Mullaitivu Maha Vidyalayam. Introduction speeches were given by Prashan De Visser the Sri Lanka Unites President and Christin Rajah the National Director who kept the students on the edge of their seats. Instructions to the students were also given before the opening ceremony came to a conclusion with the introduction of 20 teams as the students cheered for their respective teams.
Jaffna College was at its utmost beauty as the lights decorated the campus. It was truly encouraging to see the volunteers lead the teams and assembling themselves and partaking in ice breaker- sessions even without being instructed or prompted. Lastly, the teams were sent to the respective dorms after a being served a dinner that was prepared by the Jaffna College crew. Day 1 ended as the winds of change broke out bringing down drizzles that wet the out fields of Vaddukoddai, the beauty of our own Jaffna.