December 31st, 2007 – by: Devika1985
All the trucks are colourfull like this one..
Day 6 Ratnapura
On the morning of the 6th day we went downstairs to have breakfast and then someone told us that in a field nearby teapluckers were working very close to the road so we could see really well. I wanted to get a good shot from a teaplucker because we saw some before but we couldn’t get close to them or anything. We grabbed our camera’s and went outside to check it out. The lady’s were already working so hard that early in the morning and they were all so friendly to us. It was such a pretty sight. Their colourfull clothes in the green landscape.
Teaplants as far as the eye can see. The area of Ratnapura is really magical. There are a lot of Teaplantations in the mountain area. Green mountains and pretty waterfalls everywhere. The area around Negombo is also very pretty but there you can see the Ricefields instead of the Tea. We saw some stunning images there aswell. Huge fields with Rice against a Palmtree-background and Waterbuffalo’s and birds are the finishing touch. You can tell that the Teaplantations were founded in the English period since all the plantations have English names. Like we saw the Hideland Teaplantation for example. After seeing the Teapluckers a little boy told us about a Gem-mine just around the corner where he was going aswell. So why not check that out? We were planning on seeing one the day after anyway.
So we followed the little boy and went to the Gem-mine. The men at the mine were just getting ready to start work. Unbelievable how they work there. Safety restrictions in my country would never ever ever allow that ofcourse. And it was so funny to me that they actually went down into the mine with candles. I thought they would atleast have those helmets with lights on them but nothing to protect their heads and just candles that they held in their hand!
While we were standing near the mine and watching all the activity there Andrew got a phonecall. It was my cousin Asiri Madusanka who called him to tell him the family was waiting for Andrew to pick them up at the foot of the mountain. So we just went back to the hotel to have breakfast and Andrew took the van and went to pick them up. I hadn’t met my oldest halfbrother yet and I was really hoping he would be there today.
My cousing had told me he would try the best he could to get him away from his work but he just wasn’t sure if he could. So I was really nervous and just hoped he would be there.
When Andrew came back I came to the entrance of the hotel and I looked down on the group of people from the stairs. I saw Indra, Asiri Madusanka, my niece, my mother Anula and Yomal. Next to them I saw 2 other guys who I didn’t know but they were older then me so I was pretty sure neither of them was my brother. One of them came up to me and shook my hand to introduce himself. He told me his name and I told him mine but I still had no clue who he was and what he was doing there..
Then Andrew stepped out of the van and said: Newspaper.
Everybody was going like: Ahhhhh! Now we get it. It was a guy from the newspaper and a photographer. I didn’t know they would be there aswell. We all sat down and another lady joined us who was also from the newspaper. All I was thinking about was where is my brother and why is he not here and what do I do now? But there wasn’t time to worry about that because the guy from the newspaper (Sandun) just started asking questions. He asked me all kind of things like: What made me decide to come back to Sri Lanka? How did I feel about all this? What is my life like in the Netherlands? What is my family like? Etc etc etc..
The lady was asking questions to my mother at the same time. I have no clue what she asked really it was all in Sinhala language :). The photographer took many pictures of us and also of pictures from my brother here in NL and of a picture of Robin.
The article was already in the paper in Colombo you can all ask Gemunu he saw it!! :) I asked Andrew and Nel to get one and send it to me if possible.
After all this Andrew sat down with the people from the newspaper to tell them everything about the story of Fardau and how in the year of 1985 things went horribly wrong. He also talked about other Dutch children who want to find their Sri Lankan parents. The people from the newspaper were (luckily) very interested in the story and they talked about it for quite a while, made notes and asked a lot of questions. It was so great for me I finally got the feeling that this could lead to something good.
I hope a lot of people will read about Fardau and her story and maybe somebody knows something that can help her. I also hope that people see this as a warning and pay more attention to the signs that can tell them something is up in the adoption procedure. The people are not educated in those area’s (where most of the mothers live that gave their baby’s away) and although now things are a little better, in most cases the mothers are still not educated and they can’t read or write and have no idea about legal procedures and how things should go. If people tell them to do something they do it. I hope that more and more people will know about what can go wrong and can avoid people who have the wrong intentions. Although I think that right now things are a lot better and something like that won’t happen that easy again.
After the interview we took the whole family to go shopping.
When we arrived in the citycentre of Ratnapura I said goodbye to Asiri Madusanka because he had to go to work and again he told me he would try to arrange something so I could see my brother. We went to a pretty modern supermarket in Ratnapura where they could choose what they want. It was all just basic stuff for cooking that they choose. Flour, Sugar, Rice things like that. While we were standing in line to pay for all the stuff my mother and my aunt were standing next to me and they were stroking my hair that was so funny to me. My aunt leaned towards me and whispered in my ear: Beautiful. Then my mother showed me the medaillion I had given her the day before. Then she pointed out that I had nothing around my neck. She bowed her head and my aunt took a necklace from my mothers neck and gave it to me.. That was such a sweet moment. I didn’t want to take it ofcourse but they wouldnt take it back from me so now I have it here.. :)
Loaded we groceries for the 2 families we sat down at a small restaurant to have lunch together.
After that we would have to say goodbye so I took as many pictures as I could and I filmed everyone also. I was getting nervous again because I knew that it was time to leave them again. I had no idea about when I would be coming back. My mother had asked me when I would be coming again but I couldnt say that! She also asked me if I would bring Robin the next time. That was funny for me since Nel was saying in the background: Jah Duh ofcourse I would also want to know who my daughter goes out with. :) At lunch I really had it with the whole not – seeing – the – other – brother thing so I told Andrew I really wanted to see him. I was told that they would let me know that evening if I would be able to see him. We would have to drive past his workplace on the way back to Negombo the next day and then it might be possible and they were 90% sure I could see him. But I really didnt like that.. 90% is not 100% so I wasnt feeling that great about it.. Yomal was nice to me but he didnt seem to understand the whole situation that well and he was still very much a child so I really wanted to see the older brother and I hoped he would understand it more.
Garden of the hotel in Ratnapura
Then the moment arrived. We had to say goodbye on some streetcorner near a parking! Very strange and again very emotional ofcourse. They would all go home by Tuc-Tuc and we put all the groceries in there. My mother came to me to say goodbye and we hugged eachother and she stroked my arm and hand as she did the whole time I was with them really. She said some things to me in her language that ofcourse I didn’t understand and we were just holding each other. Then they all sat down in the Tuc-Tuc and it was pretty amazing to me that they all fitted in that thing!! Then I just had to see them drive away from me further and further. I knew about their situation and I felt horrible about leaving them there.
Wich is strange ofcourse because that situation has been their life for so many years already and then I had no clue about it.. but still when you are in the position you feel like you dont want to waste another day and get them away from there. But this is where you just have to be patient because it just doesnt work like that..
We went back to the hotel and this was the first afternoon that we didn’t have any plans. I didnt feel like doing anything because I felt sad and I was getting more and more nervous about the brother thing. I could not accept that I might not see him! I came here to meet him and I wasnt leaving before I had seen him.
I sent Andrew an sms to ask him if we could please go to his work and try it ourselves if Asiri Madusanka had not been able to reach him yet. I slept for a few hours and went downstairs to have dinner. First I went to the Gem shop at the hotel and bought a Gem stone to put on my bracelet. I have a bracelet with charm from the countries I have been to (Farao-mask, Venetian-mask, Buddha, Eiffeltower things like that..) It was NewYears eve and I had no clue! I totally forgot that and when we talked about it at dinner I just felt like I couldnt care less. First of all we were the only guests in the whole hotel and the place was huge! At 9 I was practically asleep at the dinner table but there was still no word from Andrew. He would let me know if he heard from my cousin about meeting my brother. Then finally the message arrived and thankfully everything was arranged and I would be able to see him the next morning. I was so happy I cant tell you what I felt at that point. I went to bed at 10 because I couldnt stay awake for 1 minute longer.
At 00.00 my parents and Nel came into my room. How could I forget to close my door??! I almost had a heartattack! We wished each other a happy newyear and then they went to their rooms and we all went to sleep. I woke up a million times that night and hear that the party at the Buddhist-temple nearby was still going strong :) The sounds of drums kept on going untill 6 in the morning atleast! I woke up just in time to wish my friends back home a happy newyear and I read all of their messages aswell.