Sri Lanka

Batticaloa
Vase planted by Minette Lee Mangahas, February 2012

“The city of Batticaloa, on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka, has seen its fair share of trauma. It was ravaged by a tsunami in 2004 and subjected to the isolation and deprivation of a bitter civil war for 20 years until 2009. Predominantly Hindu and Muslim, the population was at odds with the Sinhalese (Buddhist) ruling political party in the country. All but a single, brave Buddhist monk fled the city during the war. There is only one Buddhist temple, and the monk who remained has rebuilt its community. Now the city is rapidly recovering with new roadways, re-opened shops, and a bustling fishing industry.

 I went there with Ven. Ananda Manjusri Balangoda, one of an inter-faith group of clergy tasked with peace and reunification programs by the Sewalanka Foundation. We visited Sewalanka’s organic farm and were treated with the delicious Tamil food of the area. We also visited an orphanage, one of manym erected to raise a generation of orphans from the war.

 In order to prevent theft, we decided to encase the Peace Vase in concrete and drop it into the Batticaloa Lagoon near the Portuguese light house. We rented a boat and chose a spot in the center of the lagoon. Ven. Manjusri (holding the camera) chanted Theravadan prayers in Pali as I lowered the vase into the lagoon at sunset.”