Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A trip to heaven and back - part 2

What’s that near the Urban council? Stray dogs? “Nah! They have spots on ‘em….and….and ANTLERS!”

No kidding. It’s spotted deer. While I’m clicking away at a couple of them with Ralph’s camera, everyone’s admiring a whole bunch of them on the other side.

We’ve got to get to the village soon. It’s 40 km away from Trinco. There’s only enough time to cross a few checkpoints and reach our hotel on Inner Harbor Road. We drop our bags off and head out only to be stopped at the same checkpoints all over again.

Off we go!

We head towards Gomarankadawela through miles and miles of dense jungle with no sign of human inhabitation except for the soldiers dressed up in combat uniforms. They smile at you in unison as you drive past them. Not unexpected. Sri Lankans always have these infectious smiles to greet you. No wonder, they are the most hospitable, friendly people I’ve come across.

The whole village seems from a different era altogether thanks to the absence of all signs of commercialization. Our van parks at the hospital. The staff is thrilled to see the beds. It’s apparent why. The existing maternity bed is a terrible sight.

After donating the beds, we head to a school where my friends are planning to donate bicycles. We learn from the headmaster that there are some students who travel from as far as 12 km to study. Hope those bicycles benefited a few of them at least.

We step out from the headmaster’s room to see all the kids lined up with baskets of fresh flowers in their hands. It’s a Saturday evening, its time for them to pray!

Dusk is nearing and we have to head back to Trinco. After taking a few pictures with the kids, we head out. The scenery is picturesque. The sun is setting at a distance and the sky is playing games with all the colors you can think of on a palette. Not far away, cutting their way through tall grass, I see weary soldiers in their combat uniforms returning from a patrol. Loaded guns in hand, watching each other’s backs, they head towards the road. Looks like a scene right out ‘Apocalypse Now’.

No comments: