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News                  Vol.20

Amazing Work in Sri Lanka
By God's Ordinary People Chito Cusi
I am back from what many say a very successful relief mission to Sri Lanka. Yet, almost a week after arriving, I am still at a loss for words to describe it all. Perhaps it was because while I know we did so much, it pales in comparison to what lies ahead for the beautiful people and children of Sri Lanka.
Our mission work brought us to the city of Ambalangoda, a relatively short four-hour drive from Sri Lankas capital, the city of Colombo. Everyday after our breakfast devotional, we would split up into five teams and go into five different refugee camps. From the city of Ambalangoda to the city of Galle, a distance of about fifty (50) kilometers along the coast, there were perhaps over twenty (20) refugee camps. Each camp approximately had 50 to 500 families, a daytime population of 400 to 2000 Tsunami refugees. Some were housed in schools, some in Buddhist temples, some camped just behind on or on top of the concrete floor where their houses used to stand. In some places you could still smell the stench of death, and indeed there were days when they would recover a body or re-open one of the mass graves to let the European aid workers search for Europeans! You could not imagine the devastation! You drive for hours along the coastline and find yourself staring on both sides of the road at ruins upon ruins of what used to be brick houses. And it wasnt just the houses, furniture, photographs, jewelry, appliances, cars or whatever worldly possessions that they lost. Some have lost their parents, children, brother, an uncle or a sisterall as a result of the tsunami which brought gloom to their once idyllic lifestyle.
Our first encounter with the tsunami refugees started in a refugee camp which we later called Camp Love. We started setting up our medical and dental clinic and in a short while our psycho-emotional team led by an occupational therapist, Miss Minnie Lagria who later had a group of women interacting with them. As this developed, Bert Patricio and Johnny Jordan, with Don Boo, Felix Olden, and Dodo same on, gathered the children around themthis was our cheer-giving group, with games, sports, stories, candies and chicken hats.
The following day we returned to Camp Love then went to Camp Hope and Camp Faith. Then we were brought to Taothagama, Semigama, Wellagama, Akurala, Peraliya, Dawdangama, etc. In more than a dozen camps we worked with within 10 days, we did the following:
1. Held Medical and dental clinics
2. Distributed food and relief goods such as slippers, mats, etc. for the camp refugees
3. Had psycho-emotional intervention for ladies and children
4. Organized and played games and sports for the boys
5. Visited house to house and tent to tent for medical needs
6. Donated rope making machines for womens livelihood
7. Donated nets to fishermen
8. Helped build temporary shelters
9.Provided materials for temporary refugee kitchen and latrines
10. Assisted bread for a hungry world  Rep. Larry Buck in donating boats to fishermen
11. Donated excess medical supplies to a university medical center in Galle and the Peraliya refugee camp





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