Friday, October 5, 2012

Road Trip 2012 Day Three- Travel Tales

“What we stand for is a united Sri Lanka. A nation free from discrimination due to race, caste or ethnicity… a nation where all individuals are treated as equals, regardless of their background,” says Kalinda, a member of our Dream Team representing Kegalle, who is speaking at our morning assembly in Ratnapura.
“An example of what I mean by this was demonstrated here just this morning during the daily morning Buddhist prayers at your school. My dear friends, I myself am a Buddhist, but my fellow brothers and sisters present here, from all across Sri Lanka are of different ethnicities, religions and beliefs. And yet, as we made our religious observances, they stood here silently, their heads bowed, showing their utmost respect. However, as the national anthem began to play, we all stood proudly upright, united under one flag, singing from our hearts. And that, my dear friends, is what it means to be Sri Lankan. We might have different beliefs, we might have different ideas or different appearances,  but as long as we respect each other and remember our own identity as a Sri Lankan, we will stand strong as a nation.”
The hall is silent as a 100 young students, as well as the principal and teachers of Ratnapura Dharmapala Vidyalaya contemplate these thought provoking words. It could not have been put better.

The Rathnapura assembly ends on a good note with us being able to give them books for their library and a plate rack for their special needs class, and we, after spending some time singing songs with the children of this class, pack our bags and head for Monaragala. Having had a double breakfast due to the extremely kind, but unfortunately unforeseen hospitality of the Rathnapura School, we do not feel the need to stop for lunch. However,  this is where the trouble begins.  By six thirty, we still haven’t anything to eat since breakfast, and our chance of finding any food seems to be bleak as the road continues to wind on, seemingly devoid of any human existence (elephants are in plenty, however.)
An hour later, the effects of this lack of food are clearly beginning to present themselves. Prashan grabs his guitar and starts singing a song about his hunger pangs, which soon extends, as each person adds bits and pieces, to a full blown comical lament, with special mentions being made about a few of our road trip ‘characters’. Prashan seems to be on a roll with his lyrics when, out of nowhere Sangeeran bursts out- ‘Aiya, if we can’t find a place, can we at least food the cook?’  

In the midst of all these food related challenges and moments of questionable sanity among others, today we realized one thing. Sure, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But if it doesn't and there don’t seem to be any lemon shops to be found, don’t stress.. just food the cook.    

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