Tea pluckers are often a forgotten part of Sri Lanka’s storied tea culture. We spoke to one estate worker on the travails of life in the plantations.
How often have you heard that a crow cawing means impending visitors or that black cats bring bad luck? Here are some superstitious beliefs popular in Sri Lanka, which are associated with animals.
Destructive fishing activities take place in most coastal areas in Sri Lanka. However, many of them practices are more prevalent in the northern and northwestern areas of the island such as Mannar and Puttlam, where the waters are shallower and less policed. These destructive fishing methods have a severe impact on the environment, as well as on small-scale fishing communities.
Hassan Esufally is steadily achieving his dream of becoming the first Sri Lankan to run a marathon on all seven continents, he talks about his conquests and upcoming challenges.
Supun’s* (name changed) tryst with drugs began with a brownie. “We were having an event at school, and a senior was selling pot brownies [laced with cannabis],” recalls the 20-year- old, who attended a leading international school in Colombo. “My friend convinced me to try it. That was the first time I used drugs — I think I was in grade eight.” According to Supun, he hated the experience at the beginning. Getting ‘high’ would leave him feeling light-headed and sluggish — but his friends convinced him to keep trying it until it began to feel good. “Apple [the street name for the opioid painkiller Tramadol] was also pretty common in school, though weed was the most frequently used. I thought it felt good — you just get really energetic and happy for a few hours, you know? But when the effects wore off, it left me really depressed and tired. I couldn’t study at all. In hindsight, I suppose it did affect my A-Level results.”
What is it like dealing with a loved one who can no longer remember you? WIth Sri Lanka’s rapidly aging population, dementia is on the rise. However, very little awareness exists about the condition, and few people understand the burden of having to care for a loved one suffering from it.
To commemorate World White Cane Day, we spoke to a few visually impaired members of the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped. Here are their stories of challenges and triumphs.
Ushan Dilsara dreams of working in a hotel when he finishes school. “My grandmother’s food is not tasty,” the 18-year-old says, pulling a face. “But I can cook well. My mother used to teach me from the time I was little, and I look at my phone and follow the recipes online.” He tells us a funny story about how his grandmother’s bad cooking drove him to learn to cook an egg. His words are mispronounced and slightly garbled, but just comprehensible once your ears are attuned to them. Unlike most of us who are fortunate enough to solely depend on words to convey our thoughts, Ushan’s vocabulary is visual: a synchrony of hand signs, expressions and body language.
Sri Lanka once rubbed shoulders with broadcasting greats such as Britain and America. But just what place did radio have in the daily lives of people in the pre-Internet era? We took a trip back in time to stitch together a story of Sri Lanka’s romance with radio, guided by the memories of people for whom it was a window to the world.
The grade five scholarship exam was established so that bright but underprivileged children in the country could have a chance at a better education. However, the overzealous preparation and sky high expectations from parents and teachers have raised many questions about the pressure this examination puts on ten year old children.
The hall seems to throb with the beat of drums and feet. There is neither music nor are there delicate pirouettes or clicking heels. This is traditional Kandyan dancing, with the thunder of stamping feet and the strength of sweeping arms. Yet, there is a grace and fluidity to the movements as well, underlined by deep spirituality. In one corner of the hall, a group of students and their guru sit with their eyes closed in meditation, and at the beginning of each class, dancers plie deeply and touch the ground, as a means of invoking blessings.
Sri Lanka’s tea pluckers are often used to sell a postcard idyll, but their reality is a starkly different one. In the aftermath of the recent controversy over the ‘line room experience’ offered by a popular chain of luxury hotels, we visited the New Peacock Estate in Gampola to talk to some tea pluckers and gain an insight into their lives.
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