Since I last did a news blog many events seem to have crowded into life at Sura Medura.
The death of Charlotte has been very disturbing and has affected the whole village.
She was the first person to help us when Eilidh and I moved in to Sura Medura in December 2010. Seeing me struggling with the sweeping and cleaning she turned up with a broom and a set to to help us clean. She recruited most of the young people for the first classes in January and was a daily visitor , bringing me an English language newspaper every day. Her mother lives in a small house at the gates of Sura Medura and her family live along the lane. Her niece Emasha, who speaks excellent English, helps with the young womens group and the camera class .
Early morning on Oct 3rd we found Charlotte's body in the stream by the railway line, It was very badly mutlilated and she had been murdered.
The whole community is in shock. I was able to help the family a little with funeral arrnagements and to make sure that her 5 dogs were cared for, though one remains at her grave and goes out to collect food and I see another regularly visiting the garden where the grave is next to her home.
Charlotte had many court cases about land claims and 2 weeks before she died the court ruled in her favour and those in dispute were due to appeal in the week after she died. Rumours abound about the motive for her killing and the CID from Colombo are still investigating.
I was very shocked at the manner of her death and am sad to loose such a friend.
Charlotte lived what she called a " natural " life. Alone in her garden- she cooked outdoors and spent most of her time in the garden. She would bring me food sometimes and tell me not to put it in the fridge which she considered unhealthy.
We have had a few big storms - during one Zigger was frightened by a huge clap of thunder which co-oincided with someone arriving at the door and he was off down the road. Jenny and I and several neighbours found him hiding in someone else's house after 45 minutes of frantic and very wet searching in torrential rain.
Sri Lakans, like the British, constantly talk about the weather- but in terms of gradations of heat and cool and small and big rain!
I have taken the plunge and emptied my bank account to pay for Airconditioning to be installed in my room and it is a blessing for me and Zigger. I don't get the irritating Prickly heat all the time and am free from constant sweating. ( though as I write we have a power cut and the prickles are starting up all over me!! )
We now have 3 kandy dance classes on Sunday afternoons, ages ranging from 3 to 21 years old. This picture is of the older ones practising for our 1 year celebration to be held in January. Someone has kindly offerred to send us some money towards hiring proper Kandy dance costumes for the occassion and the young people are very excited by the idea.
Ladies tea and conversation has 10 regulars and I'm getting to grips with what often seems like the stupidity of the English language!! They have been enjoying extracts from a Harry Potter DVD which they comment on in English.
Rasika is the tuk tuk driver who has befriended me and the centre and here he is putting a ceiling into part of my bedroom to keep in the cool air of the air conditioning.
Zigger flaked out on his special water cool bed to try to get cooler. He now loves the airconditioning and has stopped having attacks of heat exhaustion . A dogs tongue turning blue is a frightening sight. He did manage to get a bowel infection and is now on the mend after a total of 5 injections and numerous medications from the local animal doctor.
We will be using some of their stock as we start a special class for 5 weeks making Seasonal decorations for Xmas and New Year. The all inclusive policy towards religion in Sri Lanka means that everyone celebrates all the festivals - and has all the holidays too !
This is part of the large garden of Sura Medura - many coconut trees which are harvested regularly by the landlord and provide great playgrounds for the monkeys and long tailed squirrels and some amazing birds.
As you may have seen from the special blog I posted recently I have been much saddened by the death of my friend Pat Rutter in UK.
It's a strange feeling of the distance between us and yet she was very much a supporter of the project and was sending messages until a few days before she died.
She asked for donations to be made to EGE instead of funeral flowers.
Part of the garden will be dedictated to Pat. and a local man is making a small wooden carving with her name, to be placed in it. She loved growing things and was always trying to encourage me to be more green fingered in my back yard.