I was picked up at 9.45am, the group consisted of the driver, the policeman in uniform assigned to protect on the front seat, the MP and myself and the photographer in the back bucket seats of the Landcruiser. Our first stop was at a Temple in the constituency, where the kids were in the ‘Daham pasala’ outfits seated outside on chairs and tables with their teachers. There was a short event with two short speeches and the handing over of an envelope of money to the chief priest for the development of the religious education of the kids at this temple.
Next a historic but poor temple in the District, where the MP’s coordinating secretary had gathered the kids and adults in the Large square hall, where the formalities with a loudspeaker were in place upon arrival and proceedings began by the lighting of the oil lamp and the prayers followed by the speeches and the distribution of chairs, big and small for the daham pasala. The chief of the dayaka sabha showed the plan for the development of the temple, an ambitious one which included buildings for the daham pasala, all of which required funds! They requested the MP to assist them from future decentralized budget funds.
Next stop a funeral house of a party member which the MP was requested to attend by the local Pradeshiya Sabha member, who then showed us his foundation building and volleyball courts and asked us to help publicize his CD of songs meant for kids. He has done many programs for the development of preschoolers.
It was a Muslim wedding for a late lunch, where the sexes were separated. Even the bridegroom ate with us at the table without the bride, as all the females were gathered in a separate place in a communal hall. Even here another local Pradeshiya Sabha member was present and at table, and the chat with the contacts was what the people found useful, along with the chats on the gossip of the day.
We were then off to distribute some sports equipment to young post school men, who had come across the MP a few months ago and had complained about the lack of an area to play sports. The local school was out of bounds for them, but there was no government land to provide them with a play ground.
After dropping in to the electorate house for coffee, it was to another funeral. It was of the 96 yr father of the MP’s constituency secretary. The leader of the opposition, we both have a common Hulugalle ancestor, arrived at the same time we did. He was seated between the MP and me while he was engaged in chit chat, with old party hacks about the time he knew the deceased, over 30 years ago.
I was dropped off at home at 7.30pm. This was how Sunday, October 23rd was spent.