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Published: September 23rd 2013
Francis' Lovely Family
Francis' brother-in-law Gowteesan, his sister Mary Ajantha, his Mother and his Father
Jaffna and Point Pedro: A Promise Fulfilled
Part of the reason we wanted to visit Sri Lanka is because in the past year we have made friends with many Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Sydney. So of course we offered to take presents and messages to their families back home.
Francis Nimalraj, who is now employed near Berowra thanks to Azadeh's help, stopped by after work one day with some boxes of gourmet chocolates for us to take to his family. He knew we were going to his home place of Jaffna in the far north. These were not the only gifts we carried to Sri Lanka, but they were the last to get delivered, due to our idiosyncratic pathway through the country.
What we didn't know was that Jaffna is both a city and a large peninsula region. So when I rang his English-speaking brother-in-law Gowteesan, I was surprised when he said he was 30 km away and couldn't come see us till the next day. I also didn't know that he had no car and would be leaving very early in the morning to get to us by bus. In the end, he actually got a
The Welcoming Committee with Phil
Francis' brother-in-law Gowteesan (right) and his friend (left) with Phil at Nullar Temple.
friend to give him a ride all that long hot way on the back of his motorbike and they showed up early Saturday morning. After some tea, toast, eggs and talk, we took a walk over to the huge and famous Nullar Temple and walked all the way around it.
Then we all piled into a taxi and rode back to Point Pedro, where Francis comes from. We were greeted most warmly by his parents, who seemed delighted to meet people who knew Francis in Australia. They gave us cold drinks and we chatted, with some able English help by the taxi driver, then they skyped Francis, who at that moment was on the train in Sydney. He eventually got to Milson's Point and was using his iphone to show us Sydney Harbour and the Opera House and Gowteesan showed him back the postcard we'd just given them of exactly the same view! After that we had a generous lunch including delicious prawns.
Although we thought we were doing a favour for Francis, in the end we benefited so much. It was the first time we'd been in a home with a family, so it was a very
Martha and Phil with Gowteesan
From our hotel we all took a walk around the Temple.
special day for us.
While in Point Pedro we got to ride around the town and along the seashore and check out the local fishing scene and the beautiful beach.
There were so many wrecked buildings. Some were from the 2004 tsunami that had also devastated the north coast of Sri Lanka, which was news to us. Some of the damage was from the war. Some was just old buildings that had collapsed. We gave up asking.
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