On the 29th of June I toured the IDP (internally displaced persons) camps in Sri Lanka. When I arrived at one of the camps, the officer in charge of the area told me about the need for milk powder and sugar for the people who live in that particular camp. The camp housed 1,400 families including more than eighty pregnant women and many children. It did not take me too long to understand the urgent need. Within 24 hours we were able to organize a truck full of milk powder, sugar and tea leaves and distribute them to the needy.
While it may sound like a very easy thing to do, this is not the case. Some could even say it is impossible. Yet, we all work hard overcoming many challenges. Three volunteers in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, went into action immediately. They worked all day, placing orders and loading the truck all before the day’s end. The truck was driven overnight to Vavnia where the refugee camps are. When I got up early the next morning (the 30th) the truck had already arrived at where I was staying.
When I woke up that morning there was simply one more task left: Security Clearance. Entering into the Vavnia region requires many permits and long lines at various check points, where things could get delayed for days. So I decided to call the general, who is second in command in the Sri Lankan Army, and the main military authority for IDPs. I requested clearance and military escort; within minutes my requests were granted.
By 1:00 PM we arrived at the newly cleared site, where 1,400 tents are set up, and started handing over the packages. It was nice to see gentle smiles in the tired and weary looking faces of those who have walked through the hell of war and are waiting to restart their lives.
I am thankful to my nephew Sobath and niece Achala who worked overtime, tolerated my numerous phone calls, and did everything in their power to organize the purchases of goods and transport. I am grateful to my nephew Lasantha who did not sleep for a day and a half, traveled overnight with the truck, and participated in distributing the milk powder. Also, I am grateful for the help of the Sri Lankan Army and, of course, all the supporters of TGS. Thank you a thousand times on behalf of a thousand families.