Easter here is a quiet time. Good Friday services are a traditional three hours and believe me in the heat Colombo is presently having it is a real sacrifice following the stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Easter is once again a very religious festival with mass being something of primary importance. Families do get together for a festive lunch but this is purely secondary I have been furious with myself at not being able to add pictures to my blog of my trip to Pooneryn. My first contact was with Rajini who is absolutely pretty at 16 but at such a young age has gone through so very much that its just not fair. Both mother and father have died in the aerial shelling, and she has been left at 16 guardian of four younger siblings. She has given up school to take over home and hearth and look after the younger ones. I was so happy to have met up with her, chatted with her and promised her that I will try to look after her as long as we can. I have been able to find a sponsor for the whole family from Melbourne so thats the financial side taken care of. Now we just continue to be there for Rajini and show her that someone cares for her. She is so frail that I worry over how she is going to survive to look after not just herself but her siblings as well.
The other family that was particularly hard to face was Rajendra at 17 left orphaned with four younger boys to look after. He has given up school, and cooks, cleans and makes sure that the younger lot go off to school. Such a nice, well spoken boy who at 17 is still very childlike - he has started poultry farming on a very small scale
and I am trying to see what other option I could introduce him to - not just to earn money but to keep him occupied because at 17 this burden is way too hard for him.
All the children I saw on this trip had their own tragic stories to tell us but these two particularly were very sad. Grandparents in Rajini's case are elderly and not really able to do anything and in Rajendra's case non existent. The support system of aunts and uncles and neighbours is there but they too are in an impoverished state and able to help in a very limited manner.
However looking at it positively I hope that now that the initial breakthrough has been made with my trip to this area, we would be able to help out more actively as it were. I feel that the lack of emotional support is horrible and though we give financial support, losing one's family is a body blow that is going to take time to get over. With no counselling available at all in this part of Sri Lanka and no support system from a school for Rajendra and Rajini I just hope and pray that they will be alright.
Happy Easter to you all.
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