I was looking forward to this particular assignment in Sri Lanka for Outreach International, firstly because my wife Linda was accompanying me on this trip and secondly we were going to tag a week’s holiday onto the end, hence the title of this blog post ‘A Trip of Two Halves’. It was so good to have Linda with me, partly as it meant she could see some of the amazing things I am privileged to experience with my work but also because she could help me record some of the information gathered from the field. The first week was spent around Puttalam on the western coast of the country, visiting three different communities where Outreach International have been working. To be honest, I didn’t know too much about their work in this particular place before I went but I was amazed at how much had been achieved in such a short period of time. As always, the highlights of the week were meeting some of the individuals who have participated in and benefited from their work of pulling themselves out of poverty.
Here are a few photos from that first week, more will follow soon.
After our time in the communities around Puttalam we travelled south to a small coastal town of Hikkaduwa near Galle for a relaxing few days. In many ways it was difficult to reconcile the two aspects of the trip, the first being spent amongst the poor, listening to their stories and seeing the conditions of their difficult lives whereas the second week we were at a comparatively luxurious location, living a life that those people we met only a few days before could only dream of. It was however, an opportunity to see more of this gorgeous country and meet some other Sri Lankans.We decided to travel south just as the locals would…by train. It was certainly an experience but it was well worth the extra time it took. The train journey itself took over 3 hours and cost us a whopping £1 each!! Okay, the train was basic and we definitely wanted to stay clear of the so-called toilets but it cruised just a few metres away from the coastline enabling us to take in some fantastic views. If anyone is planning on going to Sri Lanka I would seriously recommend using the trains. There’s not much else to say about the second week as we spent the vast majority of the time relaxing beside a pool except for the day we headed out in a tuk-tuk to Galle and some surrounding sites. We certainly relaxed and enjoyed some wonderful Sri Lankan hospitality, hopefully it won’t be too long before we can return to Sri Lanka.
I purposefully didn’t take too many photos that second week but I couldn’t resist firing a few shots on the train and also the stilt fisherman and Japanese Buddhist Temple around Galle.
Humanitarian photography by Wayne Rowe / Visioning Images