Tuesday, October 30, 2007

renewal of the high security zone permit

Today is the day our three month high security zone permit expires and I sent Amila to renew it to the Pettah police station with what we were earlier informed was the required information.When Amile arrived there, he was told they need an additional letter from me the registered owner of the vehicle in Sinhala requesting an extension of the permit, in addition to a formal letter as the owner of the enterprise which is requesting this extension. So Amila takes the bus to my sisters to get the letter which I had already prepared. I drove him as far as Slave Island from where he took the bus as my vehicle is not permitted to go any further. Apparently he got there at 4pm but they said they don't accept requests after 4pm implying per their clock it was a minute past and we have to come tomorrow to give it. I have to go to Kitulgala tomorrow so we can't do it and the permit expires today.I don't live in Colombo so it is even more difficult to conform to their requests. It is amazing how cussed law enforcement is in Sri Lanka as they feel we have to be beholden to their behaviour, only they can exercise!!

We in Sri Lanka suffer a lot at the hands of law enforcement irrespective of race, as they have become a law unto themselves and are no longer servants of the state. I was checked by an army soldier at a checkpoint when I was bringing produce a few days ago and he went so far as to go through my clothes bag and take out my binoculars and check the sights to see if it in deed was one and opened the battery chamber of my flashlight to see if there were batteries and in the process broke the spring. He probably had never seen a flashlight like that!!

Such is life in the battle zone where the battle is really for the rights of the innocent not that of the terrorist who still gets their way.

still working on my kitchen

the saga of my kitchen continues as I am still waiting for the finished product before the heavy rains come. It is looking good but not yet finished. Here are photos of Rohitha and Ranga hauling clay bricks to the work site. I hope to begin cooking in the new kitchen on November 6th by throwing a candlelight dinner to all who helped construct it.It is all fire wood cooking and I am looking for some one with knowledge of how to build an oven which will run on firewood where I can bake.Something that is not done in the villages except in bakeries.

Monday, October 29, 2007

produce I brought from Polonnaruwa yesterday

Some may wonder what I do in Polonnaruwa. Sadly it is mostly work growing and foraging for good produce to satisfy my very fussy customers.I returned by myself late last night from Polonnaruwa as Amila was off for three days. So I had the added task of doing the work he also does on top of mine.

I managed to sell some excess corn in the Hingurakgoda pola, on Sunday morning. This was the first time I had sold produce in the pola.

My list in my vehicle I brought down and some of which I brought into Colombo today for sale were: 5kg Bitter Gourd. 4kg Lime, 150 Corn on the cob.15 Cucumber,1kg Aubergine,1kg Capsicum Chillies, 5kg Ma Karal,5kg Watakolu,20 bottles of coconut oil from my coconuts and poonac residue for my cows, 120 Oranges, 12kg Kolikuttu Banana, 34kg Woodapple, 25kg Manioc, 156 Coconuts, 30 Free range eggs, 350 Villard Mangoes,9kg Amberalla, 20kg Onion, 93kg of my own Red Parboiled Samba Rice, 96kg of White Kekulu Nadu rice, 53kg of home parboiled White Nadu, 15kg of rice bran for the cows, and about 150 Corn Plants after the cob was removed, to be given to the cows in the farm in Godagama. In addition this morning I purchased 30 Pineapple and 10kg Papaya from a neighbouring farm.

This is an example of my product list I bring down weekly from Polonnaruwa, surprising you as to the range of my products.

Monday, October 22, 2007

rain rain

It rained all day in Colombo today. What it did to my business was shattering. It was difficult to transport in the rain and worse still was that I could hardly sell my King coconuts, my main product in the market and people in Sri Lanka dont drink thambili when it rains.

So I return to the farm with a lot of unsold King Coconuts. All my well heeled friends tell me to make King Coconut wine. Will I then fall foul of the authorities accusing me of making moonshine!!! Now you know what people do in desperation when they try to make an honest living and acts of God and sometimes man prevents them from doing so!!!

Well I will make an attempt again on Wednesday to sell King Coconuts and hope by then the sun will shine. As I noted in an earlier comment, the weather has played havoc this year with my King Coconut sales as Colombo has been very wet. I have been at this business now for three years and this year I have experienced the worst weather.


Due to the recent family wedding my brother and sisters were together for a fleeting moment from their busy and separate lives. Here is a photo of all of us and another of Harin and myself taken on October 20th 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

my kitchen floor where no woman dare tread!!

It just took me half a day, and the help of about 10 local lads and the mason to lay my concrete kitchen floor, complete with putting the polythene on the ground and laying the cement, sand and rock mixture on top and then cementing the surface to get an even texture. I was amazed at how quickly a task like this can be done especially when one puts one's mind to it and have a willing workforce who did this more as a favor than for reward, as a pay back for my helping them. I also bought them lunch and they had plenty of king coconuts to sustain them and a lot of banter to keep everyone amused. I expect all the kitchen work to be complete by the time I next go on Wednesday, including the kitchen sink with running water and the firewood stove for our cooking. I will take a kitchen table and chairs I have in a store room to finish it off and we can finally cook a proper meal and eat in a civilized manner instead of finding a bed to sit on to have our dinner. We can all now actually sit in a dinning table in the kitchen and have the food served direct from stove to table. What luxury for us who have hitherto been cooking in the open for over a year. The rains having just arrived means this is a timely move for our general well being and peace of mind.

See below the section of putting up the cadjan roof, for info about the collective effort in finishing the roof. This now sounds very much like the village kitchen and looks like I will have to host a weekly luncheon for all comers in my spacious and for locals the most amazing style of kitchen they have seen in their lives.

What is funnier still is that there is a distinct separation of the sexes in Sri Lankan villagers and in this case the kitchen, the purview of the woman is now all male and for males only or put it another way the only kitchen in the village where males are allowed or actually only males cook and where only they gather!!! What am I saying?

In the context of the village. any woman who comes to the kitchen alone will be considered a loose woman!! such are the subtleties of life.

Images of this week's produce from Minneriya

Friday, October 12, 2007

my most recent product list and prices

This is the price list of products that I brought for delivery to homes in Colombo on October 8th 2007

King Coconut each 15/-
Coconut large 27/-
Coconut small 22/-
Papaya perkg 60/-
Oranges(mine) each 8/-
Lime 500g 40/-
Ambul Kehel perkg 50/-
Seeni Kehel perkg 60/-
Ambun Kehel each 12/-
Kolikuttu each 10/-
Freerange Eggs each 15/-
Kehel Muwa each 15/-
Gotukola(val) bunch 25/-
Kathurumurunga bunch 15/-
Thampala bunch 20/-
Rampa/Karapincha bunch 10/-
Rice- Red Samba perkg 50/-
My Rosa Samba perkg 50/-
Rathu Kekulu perkg 45/-
Sudu Samba perkg 50/-
Tomato 500g 50/-
Karavila 500g 40/-
Murunga 500g 30/-
Wambatu 500g 50/-
Bandakka 500g 50/-
Thibbatu 250g 40/-
Pumpkin 500g 30/-
Meemin Wattaka each 40/-
Cucumber each 25/-
Kekiri each 15/-
Corn on the cob each 8/-
Polonnaruwa Onion 500g 30/-
Green Chillies 100g 20/-
Ginger 100g 20/-
King Coconut Oil 1/4bot100/-
Forest Bees Honey 1/4bot175/-

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Sri Lanka is blessed with various micro climates due to its various seasonal and mountainous variations. This week at the cricket in Dambulla, the bougainvilleas in the stadium drive were in full bloom and was a riot of colour.

Similarly the anthuriams in a home I recently passed in the Dankotuwa area with different hues and shades were similarly profuse. I took the photo here at the entrance to my farm house in Godagama, with all stalks in bloom from one plant in a pot, and I don't think the plant has ever been fertilized or watered except for the excessive rain water we have received there in the past three months.

It is nice to appreciate and share what is beautiful around us in the hope it cheers one and inspires at the same time.

boys herded into the pick up for the return journey

trip to Dambulla to see the cricket

I obtained 15 tickets and 15 caps from Dilmah the sponsors of the Sri Lanka cricket team, to see Sri Lanka play England at the Dambulla grounds on Thursday October 4th. Actually there were 18 of us in total who came. 15 were packed in the back of my open Tata pick up cab. We got to the grounds just as the match started, and apart from myself, ( i had been to the inaugural match in Dambulla in 2001 where England played SL) no one had seen any international matches in their lives. So it was a treat for all. The grounds looked spectacular and from our covered M stand we had a super view of match and the rock ahead of us and as photos show our back was to the lake with two photos to show the changing light.

There is a photo of Percy our one man cheering squad with an English equivalent lady dancing together, which all made for a perfect day, except that SL lost for the first time in 25 years to England on home soil.I treated the boys to ice creams and then hot dogs, though I drew the line on dinner!! Needless to say the stadium has a strict no alcohol rule as the temple owns the grounds, but I could hardly see anyone in the section we were, including the MAS intimates staff who were not intoxicated.

Apparently in this country the saying goes that they cannot enjoy the dancing and music without the alcohol to give them the extra spark to do the baila twist. I lost my SL flag as one inebriated person from another clan, danced away with it. I guess a small price to pay for the day, and the boys from Hingurakgoda, had a day they will never forget in their lives. Thanks Malik for making it happen.