Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Experiencing Sri lanka's True Culture And Meeting Native People In Dumbara Valley

14 January 2014

Heading Towards Dumbara Valley

We were straight up for Dumbara Valley next day in the morning just after having finished with our breakfast. It was a bright shiny beginning a day when we left Hotel Mahaweli Reach. Today's project was to visit a local school in Dumbara Valley and to get engaged with some social actions that could motivate the students towards volunteerism and social works.

The thing I liked most about my community visit, Kandy, that for me, it was the most versatile expedition including engaging in social actions, knowing native people,experiencing root level culture of Sri Lanka and its traditions, perceiving religion, making friends, enjoying natural beauty of the Island, and a taking a step forward to the door of enlightenment!

With the Principal and the students of the School

I had the chance to experience Sri Lanka's rich and colorful culture and the generosity of the native people in the school of Dumbara Valley. They arranged an opening ritual for us that was held in a very traditional way. It began with prayers where each and every one of us took part forgetting the typical norms of our society-based religion, we devoted ourselves to the bonding of humanity. They honored us in such a way that actually surpassed every other material thing! 

Students saying the rituals

Traditional Oil Lamp Ceremony Of Sri Lanka
"The Oil Lamp Ceremony" was followed by it. They called it "Polthel Pahana", in English, "Traditional Oil Lamp" of Sri Lanka. It was an offering of lighted lamps which usually contained coconut oil. Since the ancient times this ritual had been very important in Sri Lanka until present day!It was said that those who participated in the ceremony should purify themselves beforehand by bathing and wearing fresh clothes. Flowers are also a part of this ritual. All of us had the honor to light each of the lamps. I felt a sense of pure religion and faith deep rooted in their culture even in this modern era.  It could be apparently seen on their faces, specially the students', who were just like blooming buds!

The Traditional Oil Lamp Ceremony

The sessions with the students were very much engaging and full of activities! Within ten or fifteen minutes they were already asking me for my telephone number and address and wondering if they could ever be able to receive a letter from me! 

Their shining eyes were thirsty for affection.

Though communication barrier, to be precise, language barrier was a big trouble for us but I surprisingly found that even the nursery students were able to communicate in broken English! And while exploring the classrooms, I discovered why. You can have a look by your own ::

No doubt why the literacy level of Sri Lankan people was considered as 100%.

Blending With The Natives, Working With Them

Moreover, they were super active!
We cleaned the campus ground; Amy and Lucca planted trees; Lucca took a lead in cleaning the dirty pond in the school-campus; Chopped out weeds; Swept the ground; Made compost and learned how to make a good compost and what not!

Amy is helping in plantation

Lucca is working on "cleaning pond" preject 

I am with the broom! ;)

Sharing Cultures 

Even, we shared our culture too. Three beautiful girls from the crowd of students came forward and danced so graciously! They were enviable! Dan requested me to share some Bangladeshi movements; though without any music, I danced a little bit with the beats of rhythmic claps! Amy was also requested and she showed her unique style (I can't describe what was it actually but it was full of fun and it was super AWESOME !!!) 

Three beautiful butterflies are dancing (Representation of Sri Lanka)

I am on the ground!Though i look weird :P (Representation of Bangladesh)

Amy and Kavee with their usual hip hop! (Representation of UK)

Leaving Was Always The Hardest Part

It was hard to leave those little tinker bells. 
With Savinda
One of them just held me tight and continued saying something in their dialect which I failed to understand. Savinda Pahalagedara, the only one photographer during our whole Community Visit and an Active Citizens as well, interpreted that for me,

"She is saying no go, don't go"

Amy already became Miss popular (according to Lucca!) among the children. I could understand she must have felt bad too while leaving them. The bonding with people and their culture which are totally different from mine was not very easy task to be done. But only in a day, I discovered that hard task was already been done even without being conscious and very effortlessly. 


Anyway, it was time for visiting the country side of Dumabara Valley for some more activities and this time we had more chance to get closer to the nature of Sri lanka.


(To be continued)