Friday, August 17, 2007

the freedom of living outdoors

I spend most of my week in my small, 5 acre paddy, coconut, banana, and papaya plantation in Raja Ela, Hingurakgoda. I have a 1000ft of the Minneriya Oya running alongside the property, so my lodge was built to face the the 'Oya' or river. The room is used to store my fertilizer and paddy, and the verandah or open space is where I live. My desk, my dining table, our beds, the living room is all in the verandah as seen in the photo. When it rains I put a plastic plythene sheet accross the opening to prevent the water from getting in especillay into the beds.

This way of sleeping outside, when everyone in the village sleeps in doors, in hot sweaty dark rooms, full of mosquitos is a novel method to the locals who have never known anyone to live like this. I can think of no other way to live except this way, ensuring the free flow of air especially as I do not have fans, air congitioning or electricity.

Boys from the area drop-in in the evenings for a chat as they find there is a lot of freedom not found in their claustrophobic homes. We are not gracious hosts as we are all men and dont go rushingto make tea.There is, however, a sense of peace overlooking the river, and laughter of the kids bathing in the water, or the men talking about their day's toil and the women comparing their men!

I am concerned about the security of everything being open and hope my privacy will not be violated but so far it has been a pleasant experience of people dropping in when I am in bed in full open view of all including the ladies who come to the river to bathe. Its good to for them to see this life and think!

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