No matter how many acts of generosity I have been privileged to witness during this walk, I am deeply moved again and again. I walked into a small shop along the stretch between Point Pedro and Vallai, and asked the owner, an old woman with her young daughter for a donation. She prayed for a moment before dropping a thousand rupee note into my collection till. Kannan, who manages a restaurant in Jaffna said that he had three family members stricken with cancer and he knew personally how the lives of poor patients had been improved by the hospital already constructed by Trail. “We must do our share for the hospital in the South. It’s our duty.”
This is the same generosity of spirit that I witnessed along the South in 2011 on the first walk.
Apart from the monumental task of raising money and building these life saving hospitals, this will also be a legacy of Trail.
In a country that has come out of a civil war, we still get bombed daily with reminders of how different we Sri Lankans are. Angry voices shouting at us through the things we read and see. Under all this mistrust and the pervasive fear that “they” are out to get us, Trail has reminded me that we are all essentially the same. It is the same culture of generosity that makes people in the North and South give up a meal to serve a guest in their homes. The same sense of devotion to God and relationships that brings whole families together to look after loved ones. A love of music and celebration with the intuition that life is there to be enjoyed and not for toil alone. Some of these same good qualities make us fight each other at times. But those fights happen because we value the same things, not because we are different. Trail reminded me that I am They.
Author Subramaniam Eassuwaren