As the title suggests, I accidentally ate some shellfish last night. I was worried that was going to putt a damper on things but so far so good.
So to recap, we arrived in Colombo, got to the hotel late and the Bishop graciously bowed out of meeting us at 11 pm! So we could get a good night’s sleep and get up at 4:30 to get on a bus and drive 300km (approximately) north to Trincomalee.
Normally, as Canadians, we would expect that drive to take 3 hours maybe 4. But this is not Canada. Figure in single lane roads and a bicycle race put on by the air force, and then bad roads and all of this equals arriving in Trincomalee at 3 pm. I’ll let you do the math on that one. I felt like my brain was going to be rattled out of my head.
We had a brief intro into the work that OfERR Ceylon does at their office in Trinco. Very interesting because of course it is similar to what OfERR does in India but the next step, and continuation. They work with resettlement of IDP’s (internally displaced people), and returnees from India. They partner with UNHCR, and receive funding from PWRDF and others to do this work.
We were able to visit a couple of villages and meet people from a variety of backgrounds, some who had been IDP, and some who were returnees from India from the 1990’s and 2000’s.
The issues are complex and multiple, and I will try to give a more thorough explanation of it all later.
Yesterday we went to the Anglican parish of St. Nicholas and I thought I would try and be official and wear a clergy collar, which resulted in me being invited to concelebrate the Eucharist and share the bread!
After church we made a couple of other visits to villages and heard more stories. Important listening and getting an idea of where people are at, what they need and then ideas about how we can advocate to help them.
Then the bus headed off on more bumpy roads to Vavuniya. Had a good dinner and went to bed. Thankfully no reaction from the shrimp!
We have just visited two other communities today, first at someone’s house meeting with a women’s group to hear how they have fared resettling. The second was a visit with a much wider cross section of a community at their multi-use hall. Interesting there because there was a local government agent at the meeting. Given the wider context of being in the North, and the post-war conflict there were certain subjects we didn’t bring up.
Now we are having lunch at the OfERR office in Vavuniya. More learning to come, and when I get a real keyboard and not just my phone I will try and explain some of this more!