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David Young Contact

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Canada
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March 16

Just spent the last three days with the Foundation of Goodness in the village of Seenigama, which is on Sri Lanka's Southwest Coast. THe Foundation of Goodness is a long-standing community development group that has been up and running for at least six years. Great group. I plan to move to Seenigama and work for at least a month with Operation Phoenix, a Hamilton New Zealand independent relief group of carpenters that is repairing and building houses. In the last thirty days, Operation Phoenix repaired 46 houses and built 6 new houses. You're all welcome to drop in!!! Here's the site:

ttp://www.unconditionalcompassion.com

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Last weekend, February 26th and 27th, I was in Batticaloa, Kallady Beach area, accompanying another relief mission, a very modest mission. Was it useful? We handed out 750 coconuts and 450 kilos of rice and lentils and curry and exercise books and pens and 200 pots and pans and other odds and ends to 140 families, including 78 school age kids.

Okay, they're poor and they need help, and they sincerely appreciated our help. But they are already getting the basics, the rations, from government agencies. Also, our help is a drop in the need bucket. We go for a couple days, give out some food, take some photos, feel good, and go home. What about the following day and days and months and years?

Basically, ours was goodwill mission to show the Tamils in Kallady that the Sinhalese people, the
government soldiers, are not rascals, not bad people, contrary to the LTTE message. We worked directly with the government military. The soldiers want to help the local tsunami victims as much as they can. And they are helping out. Unfortunately, the military is also poor, financially strapped. They'll take what they can get.

Giving the relief supplies out to the villagers was all a little surreal. We drove around the Kallady Beach village in our Toyota half-ton with four soldiers in the back, armed with machine guns and the radios, each keeping an eye out for problems with the villagers. The most senior soldier (I've been told not to quote or identify soldiers) dressed elegantly in a pink Polo shirt, with a handgun tucked into the back of his jeans! It ain't peace. They tell me it's not a war zone. It's a government controlled area, called officially a cleared area, cleared of LTTE. With the shootouts in the downtown, and shuffling over territory because Prabacheren is apparenty dead,is it clear?

On the 28th of February, back home on the west side of Sri Lanka, we heard on the news that on the 27th there was a skirmish between the Prabacheren LTTE and the Karuna LTTE right in the town of Batticaloa. Three female soldiers died.

????

I don't think that our releif efforts are entirely useless. Some poor people are getting some help. And I'm still hoping our group will be awarded/permitted by the government to build a few houses. We are working on it, have to go through the red-tape, officially known as "procedures".

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January 3 - 7

See report by Mrs Attanayake

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January 3 - 12

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