Thursday, September 20, 2007

a cruel world

Thats Menika and daughter on the left, the clothes Menika is wearing is all she has other than one set of work clothes.
The person who cooks for me and cleans and does laundry as well as take care of the home garden is known as Menika, though her real name, which she prefers to be known is Geetha Sriyani. She also takes care of the Gotukola beds for my weekly sales. She also doubles up as the shop assistant.She has a 18yr son Kasun Mangala Kumara who lives and works close by and a 11 year daughter Danushika Maduwanthi who goes to the local school Subharathi.Her husband Victor drives a lorry for a living and is also an alcoholic and prone to violence, who has recently had his license suspended owing to an injury accident, and is absconding from the enquiries.

On Monday night (today is Friday) while the mother and daughter were away at the grandmother's he had burnt all their clothes including the little girl's school uniforms. He had also burnt a lot of the furniture which they had and most of it purchased with the mother's hard earned money. The house is in the mother's name. None of the son's personal possessions were harmed. I am told the father is scared of the son!

Menika had to report this to the local police, on Tuesday, who promised to take action, which hitherto has not been done.She has not been to her house since for fear of being attacked and worried I would be attacked if he comes looking for her in the farm. He was seen on the farm on Tuesday with a knife, at about the same time the woman was reporting the incident to the police.

When she came to work on Wednesday with the daughter who only had one dress, a yellow party dress and Menika also only has once change of clothes. She washes this in the farm to wear on the way to her mother's in Padukka after work.

While I do not like to get personally involved in other people's domestic disputes, I had to make sure that the child was given money to buy enough cloth to tailor three school uniforms. They will hopefully be ready today so she can resume going to school on Monday. Her house is two minute walk from the school, but she has to now come from her Grandmothers, which is now 10km from the school.

As I have noted earlier, alcohol abuse is a serious problem in Sri Lanka, and no one appears to do anything about and and just washes their hands hoping it will go away.

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