Posted by: jamestew | September 11, 2012

Nilaveli: Sand & Sea

James, Priya & Kezia have just returned from the North, where they have been visiting Sr Arul, and getting an update on the current needs, situations and future ideas for Young Hope.

The need is still as great as ever, and despite seeing areas of improvement, there is still a lot of work to be done.

In 2007, I remember a late afternoon where we visited the beach with the nuns, to be told by them that we were probably being watched and monitored… We were the only people who had probably ventured on the beach apart from Army Personnel, for months, if not years.

When we returned in 2009, again we would visit the beach, to a similar scene…

This time we ventured yet again on to the beach, but this time the beaches were busy with people playing and laughing and singing. Whilst it felt natural, it also felt strange. A place which had had silence over it for years, was adorned with Sri Lankans and Western Tourists.

I asked the Hotel Manager and Sr, both independently what were their thoughts on the busy beach.
Both were both positive and negative.
Positive, as there was life coming back to the beaches and enjoyment was being had.
Negative, as it was not Northerners using the beach, and if they did they would stand out like a sore thumb…as they would look poor and out of place.

The Sri Lankans who are visiting the areas are Southerners, tourists. They visit the area for a few days and then head home, down South.

The beach is still as picturesque as it was in years gone by, and I pray that it is a place which still hold beauty in years to come.
This is just one area, of the region, and for the majority, the area is still slowly recovering from the tsunami and civil war of years gone by…

I leave Nilaveli with mixed feelings… I can see some improvements, and at the same time, I can still see huge levels of poverty.
The years ahead are going to be long…

James

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