Saturday, October 13, 2012

Road Trip 2012- Day Nine- Lives Unseen, Voices Unheard

The word for challenge is same as the word for opportunity in the Chinese language. This is what Prashan reminds us, as we all sit in the bus quiet, contemplative and our hearts in mixed emotions, after our first visit to Keppapillavu, a resettlement camp in Mullativu, newly established for hundred and thirty five families. The tragedy and suffering we witnessed is truly distressing and we're all deeply moved. We spoke to several families living there and found out that they've just been relocated from Manik farm into what they've been told are their permanent homes. These 'homes' are basically shacks made out of wooden pillars with rackety tin roofs. The lands these people once had are no longer accessible let alone theirs.They have gone through so much and the stories they tell have you inspired by their moral strength.

As we walk down this dusty road, we meet a little girl who walks out and stares curiously at us, wondering who these strange people are who have come to visit them. Her mother stands besides her smiling at us. We ask her about her family and, pointing to the little girl, she tells us this is the only family she has left. She had had four children but her husband and two of these children had been killed because of the war. To make matters worse, her other son had been taken by the Tsunami, leaving just her eight year old daughter Yalini, whose innocent smile shows us that she doesn't understand what's going on. It amazes that she talks about all this in such a matter of fact way and goes on to tell us that she feels no hatred for what had happened to her. All she wants is freedom for her daughter, and the assurance that beautiful Yalini would never have to undergo the hardships that she did. "My life is now over" she says. "All I want is to make sure my daughter has a better life than I did, and a brighter future". 
Stories such as this one are endless just within that camp and truly makes us determined to something about it. In the words of Windya; "I'd seen and heard about situations like this on TV but this was the first time I'd seen something this grave in real life. If I ever had to live like that,  I don't know what I would've done..."

The problem does exist, we saw the gravity of it with our own eyes. However what needs to be done now, is to help in whatever way we can. We discuss the possible things we can do and make a commitment that we will make a change. After all, turning challenges into opportunities is what the 'Dream Team' is all about.

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