Friday, October 28, 2011

Hambantota: SLU's first presence

On the 26th of October, we arrived at Hambantota where we signed into a place called Ruhunu Resort. We spent the night discussing the life and quotes of Martin Luther King, which was both inspirational and enlightening to us, eventhough we were tired from the activities of the day.

The next day we went to 4 schools, namely Therappuththa Maha Vidyalaya, Tangalle Balika Vidyalaya, Tangalle Boys School and Beliatte Maha Vidyalaya. We did not expect much of a welcome in Hambantota, since this was the first time SLU had come to Hambantota, and so you can expect our surprise when the first two schools we went to showed hospitality in the true Sri Lankan style.

The Principal of the Tangalle Boys School showed immense interest and pledged his complete support to our cause. In fact, he was one of the few people from the South who actually admitted that the ethnice problem required a deeper solution than just the conclusion of the war. The excitement and keen interest showed by the students here at Hambantota towards meeting the members our team, especially those from the North and East was very moving and inspiring.

In the evening we had a team building session where we discussed different forms of conflicts, and strategies that can lead to conflict resolution. This added a different perspective to the way we looked at conflicts - it is not necessarily a negative. It can be used to make a positive impact too, depending on how we resolve it.

Then we discussed a few conflicts that we see in Sri Lanka, which included not just the inter-ethnic conflict but also the intra-ethnic conflicts such as the caste problem, class problem, territorialism and intra-religious/inter-denominational problems.

Today we are on our way to conduct a workshop at Tangalle Balika Vidyalaya. But I can already feel in advance that the workshop is going to be an immense success. Today we will leave Hambantota, knowing deep within us that we have planted the seeds of reconciliation in really good and fertile soils!

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