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01/10/2013

Sri Lanka official trip report –easternarea / part2

Ten hours by car from Colombo, I arrived at the eastern prefecture of Batticaloa.  My impression was that the farms were more vast and verdant than in the north.  The owned farm area per family in the eastern part is also larger than in the northern areas.  In the east, the owned farm area per family is about 2 acres (1 acre= about 0.4 hectare), whilst in the north, about 1 acre.  I could see not only farms, but also paddy fields, as rice cultivation is also widespread.

The local government of Batticaola prefecture has been digging wells for agricultural usage and improving returnees’ lives.  When I visited Kiran DS, wells were being constructed.  That work was taking place on a much larger scale than I had expected.

[They are building wells]
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I could observe the collaboration between the constructors and the local community on that site.  The site is in a rural area, so once the workers start their work, they cannot return to their houses in the city for at least one week or so.  So the leader of the well administration committee shared his living space with the workers and provided meals to them.  In actuality, the leader’s house is just a small hut, but I could witness a good example of team collaboration.

[Well administration committee leader’s house]
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I had expected life in this area to be stable, as many families had returned here many years ago.  The reality of the situation was that their living environment had not been improved.  The major reasons seem to be unstable income from agriculture and frequent raides on the houses from elephants.  It had been reported that there had been frequent attacks by elephants during the harvest time.  In that trip, I saw an actual house that had been damaged by an elephant.

[The house which was destroyed by the elephant]
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I had a new finding.  As a solution for the elephant raides, I had heard that the Kiran DS local government distributed “elephant prevention crackers” to residents, yet I could not imagine what kind of crackers they were.  Finally, I could find out what sort of crackers were being distributed!  These crackers were different from the crackers used in Japan.  These crackers were thrown to the elephants after they were lighted.  There are two sorts, large and small ones.  The large one generates sound, light, and smoke, and the small  generates sound and smoke.  In Sri Lanka, elephants are considered to be sacred animals, so people do not throw the crackers to the elephants directly, but I heard that the crackers are temporarily effective.

[The big cracker]
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[The small cracker]
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By visiting a project site in operation for the first time, and communicating with the local residents, local government officials, and project members, I have developed a clear image of the situation, with which I expect to manage the project more smoothly. 

January 10, 2013 in Sri Lanka |