I left the meditation centre at Yala Last Friday and since then the memory has grown and blossomed in my mind.
The second evening there, after the sundown puja, about a dozen children and adults stayed on to commune and listen to stories under the night sky. Though I didn’t understand what was being said, the conversation was lively and punctuated by laughter, (I later learnt the nun was telling stories for the new year). As I sat and listened atop a boulder that’d been warmed by the day’s sunshine, they gathered around a skyward pointing phone torch that projected the reflections of their faces up to the stars. It was a magical moment, and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed.
There was no mucking around; voices were heard, questions were asked and everyone was intent. I hope the picture before you is vivid as I took none that night. I was reminded of my experience as a parent helper in my youngest’s primary class, where despite the teacher’s skill, it nevertheless took relentless effort to keep the children “on task”.
In all this has been a long trip: 1100 miles in the air, 900 on some pretty sketchy and “eventful” roads.
Now after seven hours of airline shenanigans in Doha, the view from the train window is chilly and washed out.
That many of the Sri Lankans I met wanted to come to the UK, or work in the desert inferno of the Middle East is both understandable and absurd.