mother came home on Wednesday...
By Ranee Mohamed
at the Bandaranaike International
Airport takes time. But all that is welcome because of the
happiness associated with travel and the affluence....
trip from Jaffna to Dehiwala
the streets in search of food...
closer look at 'club
mother came home on Wednesday...
By Ranee Mohamed
at the Bandaranaike International
Airport takes time. But all that is welcome because of the happiness
associated with travel and the affluence thereafter. But for 32 year
old Roshantha Fernando waiting for his wife on Wednesday was not
only long but heartbreaking. He got nothing from the duty free but a
heavy heart and tears.
he went home to Panadura, his children were waiting, they did not
get chocolates and toys, but wails, heartaches and tears as their
mother's coffin was tilted through the small doorway.
went to the airport on Wednesday, October 27, at 7.30 a.m. At 2 p.m.
I was handed over the coffin of my wife," he said. There were
tell-a-tale marks of trauma in the emaciated young man's face. His
children, son Rashindu Hashan (5) and daughter Rasmeshika Hashani
(10) were scrambling all over him. "They have no idea that the
coffin in the middle of the house contains the body of their
mother," said Roshantha in tears.
wife Thilakshi died on October 17, on the way to Riyadh when she was
traveling in a bus with 40 others to the King Dhalid International
Airport to come back home to Sri Lanka after three years of
employment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The bus had been involved
in an accident with an oiltanker
nine year old Thilakshi Priyadharshani had decided to leave Sri
Lanka to Riyadh hoping to come back and buy a piece of land.
"We had many financial problems. I am a carpenter and the
children were hungry all the time. When she left on October 14, 2001
the youngest child was being breast-fed," said Roshantha.
still remember the day she left. It was early morning. We had to
pull the sleeping child off her breast as the time came for her to
leave home. The children did not stop crying, especially the
youngest child. I tried to console the two children but they could
not bear the sight of their mother leaving," said Thilakshi's
mother Princy Pieris.
was in tears, they were the tears that a mother sheds for a child,
however old or young she may be. "I have only three daughters
and Thilakshi was such a happy child. She always wanted to be happy.
She told me that she will somehow hide some money, about Rs. 50,000
to give me a grand funeral someday. If you die I do not even have
any money to bury you, she told me," recalled Princy.
loved her children so much. Before leaving too she came and begged
of me to look after her children. During all the telephone
conversations that she had with her children, she kept on telling
them about the toys that she had bought for them," said the
grandmother sobbing uncontrollably.
children have not received any toys and they keep expecting their
mother to come back home. They do not know that there will be no
telephone calls, no toys and no assurances that they are being
loved, all the way from Riyadh.
Priyadarshani, though described by her mother as a happy child, had
not known a moment of happiness in Riyadh. "Each time I saw her
she was in tears. All she did was talk about her children,"
said 23 year old Nishani, her younger sister who was in the same bus
worked in a hospital. Though we were working together it was
difficult to see her. In the three years I was there, I met her six
times and that too after crying and begging my project officer to
let me meet her. Each time I met her she was in tears. All she did
was talk about her children. Every telephone call to her home was
about her children," said sister Nishani.
our three years ended on November 4, we were to travel to Nagran
where our financial remittances were to be sorted out. All the
employees working in distant places were gathered together at a
hostel and some of us boarded this bus which was to take us to
Riyadh. I was seated in the furthermost corner of the rear seat and
my sister Thilakshi was seated on the other corner. I offered her my
seat because it was sunny on her side. I tried to joke with her but
she was not in a jovial mood.
asked me not to fool around and she slept in that corner. The bus
broke down at about 3 p.m. on the way and we stood on the road for
about 45 minutes till they repaired the bus. But Thilakshi remained
in the bus. She was fast asleep," recalled Nishani.
the bus got into a huge collision, few of the women knew about it,
for many of them were fast asleep. They were tired and hungry and
after having stood outside till the repairs were attended too, they
did not know what happened. I was fast asleep when I felt my head
sway violently. I felt the blood pouring down my nose and my face
hurting unbearably. I tried to open my eyes but I could not. I cried
and asked what was happening to us. Then I heard the voice of one of
our relatives who was also in the bus. She said that Akka's head was
missing. She begged me to help her to find Akka's head. I leaned
back and I thought I had died," said Nishani.
on Thursday, October 28, Thilakshi's mangled remains were locked in
the coffin in the middle of their poor home. The family had borrowed
money for her funeral. They had not received a cent that is owed to
Thilakshi. Her bags which she so badly wanted to bring home to her
children have not reached them.
family was poor three years ago, but they are poorer now. They have
no money and no mother.
begged my daughter not to go overseas. I told her that I will do
whatever possible for them. But she did not listen to me. Today, we
have her body at home. Not a single official visited us. We got
nothing of her earnings. I do not want a cent of my daughter, but
her children have to be looked after," said Thilakshi's father
helpless people kept filing in to their small house. There was no
one in authority, no 'top official' or anybody powerful here. There
were a countless worn out rubber slippers at their doorway and tears
who is responsible for looking into the affairs of this poor family
living at 10/1 Susantha Mawatha, Panadura? Who will ensure that the
earnings of three years of hardwork will reach the children? Who
will see that compensation is given to replace a mother who left her
land of birth to bring back happiness, laughter and comfort to her
story is sad. It ought to spur those in authority to get the poor
family what they deserve, for now they have not only a lifetime of
heartache and tears but the additional debt - of repaying the money
they borrowed to bury their mother.
trip from Jaffna to Dehiwala
Menika at KKS and Menika at the zoo with the army mahout
is not very often that we hear of an
elephant being transported all the way from Jaffna to Colombo. But
considering the importance of the Sri Lankan elephant and its fast
dwindling population in the country, the army, navy and zoo
officials took it upon themselves to save the life of the young
female elephant, Menika when it was stranded in Jaffna after the
Rivirasa operation in 1995.
to The Sunday Leader, Zoo Director, Brigadier H. A. N. T. Perera
said that the elephant was kept in the Kittu Park close to the
Jaffna town and used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
to entertain the children.
Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) then took charge of the elephant. As
time went by and the elephant grew bigger, the SLLI found it
difficult to feed the animal. Meanwhile animal rights organisations
requested the elephant to be brought to Colombo," said
to him, for the last two years, there were discussions with the army
and the navy to bring down the elephant. But bringing the elephant
to Colombo was easier said than done. Their attempts to bring the
elephant on a ship called Muditha failed. However, the Brigadier
then got a call a few days ago from Jaffna Commander, Major General
Laurence Fernando requesting him to bring the elephant as soon as
possible to Colombo.
contacted Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri to request
permission for a vessel to bring down the elephant. I spoke to Vice
Admiral for only five minutes. The Vice Admiral said: "You let
me know when you are ready and I will make all the necessary
arrangements," said Brigadier Perera.
a team of 10 zoo officials consisting of veterinary surgeons,
curators, mahouts and administrative officials were sent by Lion Air
to Jaffna and thus began the difficult operation of transporting
Menika to Colombo.
October 18 Menika was transported from Jaffna to Palaly. Menika was
then taken to Kankasanthurai on October 19 and loaded on to the
vessel in the afternoon on the same day. "Northern Naval
Commander, Rear Admiral Dharmapriya helped in loading Menika on to
the vessel," the Brigadier recalled. Menika arrived in
Trincomalee on October 20 at 8.30 am.
kept Menika in Trincomalee for the day as she needed to rest,"
said Brigadier Perera. On October 21 in the morning Menika began her
journey from Trincomalee to Colombo by road. Right throughout the
long journey Menika was accompanied by zoo veterinary surgeons, her
army mahout Corporal Akuretiye Gamage Priyantha and other army and
navy officials. Menika arrived safely at the Dehiwala zoo at 8.45
p.m. on October 21," said Brigadier Perera.
11 years old was in good health and did not have even a chain mark
on her legs when she arrived at the zoo. The army has looked after
her very well," added Brigadier Perera. He went on to say that
when Menika arrived at her new home she was given a warm welcom by
the other elephants, especially Devi and Indu who accepted her as
one of their own.
her way from Jaffna to Colombo Menika was given top priority. All
army checkpoints on the way were alerted that an elephant was on its
way from Trincomalee. From Trincomalee to Habarana Menika was given
an army escort," explained Brigadier Perera.
Brigadier Perera noted that if not for the prompt action and
decisions taken by Vice Admiral Sandagiri, Northern Naval Commander,
Rear Admiral Dharmapriya, the Jaffna army security force head
quarters and the Jaffna Five One Division Commander General,
Fernando and the other officials involved, this operation would not
have been a success.
The Sunday Leader spoke to Corporal Priyantha at the Dehiwala zoo,
he said after the completion of the Rivirasa operation while in the
process of clearing the area, the army came across a hole covered
with a board in Chavakachcheri. On inspection the army found Menika
inside the hole. "We believe the LTTE had hidden Menika hoping
to come back for her later," said Corporal Priyantha.
to Corporal Priyantha, Menika was given to his care in 1997. "I
have always loved elephants," said Corporal Priyantha who
gladly took over Menika.
to Corporal Priyantha, he did not know the elephant language and had
no experience in looking after elephants. But today, the Corporal is
an experienced mahout, who has mastered the elephant language. He is
expected to stay a few days with Menika until she gets use to her
new mahouts and life at the zoo.
the streets in search of food...
is poverty by the side of the road,
but even more painful is the hunger that exists on the side
walks. They are poor, they are starving and that is why they wait
for hours and hours under the scorching sun. For them, it is a
battle of survival.
by step we move forward and observe the misery of those starving -
we sense their craving and their needs.
Piyasena is 86 years old and his eyesight is week. The fact that he
is deprived of good health is the reason why he happened to make his
way to Borella junction. He has been doing this for almost three
40 years I have been driving a vehicle, then my sight
weakened," he recalls. "It grew worse during the past
three years and made me the poor drifter that I am today," said
Piyasena. "When my wife was alive she somehow managed to find
money to pay for the surgery on one eye. But my wife passed away
three years back and now I have no money to get my other eye
operated. My son is married and cannot look after me," he
he said that at the end of the day he somehow manages to take back
home about Rs. 100-150 and if it is a good day, a packet of rice
ended the story of Piyasena and began the story of Selavathee, who
was seated next to him, for her turn to speak to us.
please listen to me, I too am suffering from an eye problem. I am
here to collect money for the operation," she said.
have three daughters and three sons, but they do not look after me.
After waiting here from morning to evening I get only Rs. 75-80 a
day. Of that little money, I have to pay for food and there seldom
is anything left for me to collect for the surgery," she
how old she is, she muttered to herself: "I think.nearly 80
G. Rajika was in a similar plight. She has made it a habit to come
near the Town Hall everyday. "We come here because we get food
from those who pass by Madam," she said while trying to console
her three kids who happened to give her a hard time - restless
because they were hungry. The dust and the hunger and the heat was
hard on the children too.
often the police harass us. They scold us for begging on the streets
with our children and once they arrested my elder son. We are scared
to keep our children because we do not know where they will end up
if they get caught to the police, she complained, saying "We
beg only because we are poor madam."
said Rajika: "My husband is a labourer and with the little
money he earns we cannot provide three meals to our little ones and
we have to give them clothes as well. Even I cannot get more that
Rs.100-125 per day although I spend the whole day here," she
people struggle for hours and hours but they confess that they
hardly get any money. Then why are they still eager to do this?
Answer is obvious from Nanda's words.
wait here from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. to collect the few packets of
rice we receive. Apart from food we can collect lot of clothes as
well. In this way we can solve our food problem. This is the only
way I can ease the burden of my husband," said Nanda.
to her, there are days that her children starve. "Things get
worse on rainy days," she lamented.
is another woman who struggles for survival. Being a mother of two
daughters aged eight and 10, Indrani's plight is distressing, as she
has to not only look after her two daughters but also her bedridden
my husband is sick we have no income. That is why I come here to
collect the packets of rice leaving my two kids with their
grandmother. We even manage to keep the food for dinner," she
said and went on to say that these packets of food are a great
source of comfort to her suffering family.
two year old W. Gurusinghe had a different story to tell. "As I
have been robbed off all my wealth by my three brothers, I have no
place to stay. I have no family to look after me either. So, I live
in a nearby temple. Like others, I too am here to get food. But I
somehow collect around Rs. 40- 50 per day," he said adding that
although he has the courage to do an odd job to earn an extra buck,
nobody is willing to offer him a job. "Nobody is willing to
give me a job as I am old and probably ,being a beggar is not a
qualification," he moaned.
seems to be a one big struggle for them as each individual is
deprived of something - be it health, wealth or shelter. They have
no hopes or aspirations either. Nevertheless their dreams are
realised each day as they find a little money to live for that day
along with the much awaited buth packet, which they yearn for.
better life for street children
human figures in tattered clothes, those who are being used
and abused very often - is a common sight
in this country today. They are the street children who
robed of their childhood, not due to the cruelty of their
parents but via a sad twist of fate. Nevertheless, with the
attempts made by the concerned departments and welfare
organisations, their safety and hope for a better future is
assured. The Sarvodaya Street Children Project is one such
move that offers a better life for these so-called `waifs.'
to The Sunday Leader, Pre School None Formal Education
Teacher, Sarvodaya Street Children Project, Anula Kahanda
Gamage said they assist the street children with necessary
funding to carry out their education without hindrance. They
are being provided with uniforms, books and other items that
are needed for their education.
Gamage: "Other than that we even send applications to
schools and train parents to go for interviews when their
children are being admitted to schools. Also, we assist them
when it comes to making their identity cards, birth
certificates and other necessary documents."
some of these children come from the families of prostitutes,
thieves and drug addicts, Sarvodaya is faced with the
additional task of rehabilitating not only the children but
also their parents as well. "Our priority is for the
children. However, we carry out counselling programmes for
parents while helping them out with income generating
activities. We even give loans for them to do small scale
industries," she added.
children are being safeguarded by day-care units until their
parents comeback from work," she said.
addition to that, Sarvodaya is engaged in skills development
programmes for older children such as welding, carpentry,
dress making etc., while being given access to take part in
other activities such as music, dancing, sports, little
friends movements. These children are being taken on
said that they carry out medical clinics very often to help
solve children's health problems. "Creating a healthy
family is our main intention," she concluded while noting
that today there is a 'decrease' in the number of street
children when compared with the past.
speaking to The Sunday Leader, Communication Officer, UNICEF,
Jeffory Keele said that UNICEF is working with various
authorities to provide the street children with education and
also help police when dealing with street children.
being used to earn a 'fast buck'
to The Sunday Leader, OIC, Women and Children's Bureau, Manoj
Samarasekera said it is an offense to use
children, even by their parents, in order to earn a
often such children are the victims of sexual abuse and
therefore we take action against those who exploit these child
beggars, be it even their parents," he said.
Samarasekera also said that the bureau has come across
instances in which children were being used in this beggar
trade. They are used either by their parents or sometimes by
organised gangs. "Often it is the children who are being
exploited in these instances and not the adults," pointed
out the OIC.
look at 'club
is sad to say that alcoholism is a major
problem the world over and especially in poorer countries. In
Sri Lanka the local brewed alcohol called kassippu and arrack is in
abundance. There have been sporadic newspaper reports where whole
batches have been admitted to local hospitals after consuming the
local alcohol and some have even paid with their lives.
alcohol remains the so called primary 'social lubricant,' it has
been joined by many newer psychoactive drugs that are used to
intensify the social experience.
am going to tell you about the these psychoactive drugs, as there
have been sporadic reports in newspapers and some readers have even
queried about heir chemical content. These drugs may be bought at
pharmacies, over the counter or on prescription by certain drug
addict friendly doctors; and may be bought through contacts.
collectively call these 'club drugs' because of their prevalence at
dance parties, raves and night clubs.
(MDMA) was first developed in 1914 as an appetite suppressant. At
the same time animal studies were done but not impressive -
therefore never used in human beings. In 1962 psychiatrists started
prescribing the drug as an "empathy agent." By 1985
illegal manufacturers were producing the drug for recreational
purposes and was classified under schedule I controlled substances.
is found in 70% of raves and night clubs in the USA. MDMA is usually
sold as small tablets or toffees (candy) of variable colours
imprinted with icons and words. This drug also came to be known as
the 'hug drug' as it can be planted in the mouth of a person while
of these tablets are adulterated with various chemicals far too
numerous to mention here. Many of these substances - 'designer
drugs' - are illicitly manufactured variants of pharmaceuticals and
have intentional or unintentional effects. Eg. MDEA (eve) and PMA
(death) are substituted amphetamines and have hallucinogenic and
often unpleasant effects.
of action is usually 60 minutes and may last up to eight hours.
Inhalation of the crushed tablet may bring about a quicker action.
Action: Initial feeling of agitation, distorted sense of time and
diminished hunger and thirst. Later, euphoria with a sense of
profound insight, intimacy and well being.
effects include trismus and bruxism which may be reduced by sucking
on a pacifier or a lollipop. Adverse effects - These may range from
mild diaphoresis, tremor and urine retention to more serious ones
such as arrhythmias and organ damage. Due to " serotonin
syndrome," hyperthermia is markedly noted such as arrhythmias
and end organ damage. Due to "serotonin syndrome"
hyperthermia is markedly noted. Neurological effects include
confusion, delirium, paranoia, irritability and nystagmus, which may
continue for several weeks.
with alcohol withdrawal, patients withdrawing from MDMA are more
depressed, irritable and unsociable with cognitive deficits with
potential permanent memory impairment.
number of products are sold legally in the US as 'herbal ectacy.'
These products are found in health stores or on the internet and
contain stimulants such as ephedra, caffeine and guarana with
variable additions of vitamins. Users of these may believe they are
safe alternatives to MDMA, but several cases of toxic overdose have
been reported due to these stimulants.
is a derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter
gammaaminobut-yricacid. It is believed that this natural precursor
occurs in the central nervous system. Its functions are believed to
be the following:
synthesis of GHB came into being in 1960 in France as an anaesthetic.
It later achieved popularity as a recreational drug and nutritional
supplement to body builders. In 1990 it was banned in the USA due to
its adverse effects such as uncontrolled movements, depression of
the respiratory and central nervous system. In the year 2000 alone,
60 deaths were reported from overdoes and came to be known as the
"date rape drug."
salty powder, tasting salty to soapy, is sold at high rates ranging
from US$ 5 to $ 10 per dose. This powder can be mixed with food or
beverages and the action appears in 15 to 30 minutes of oral
ingestion and reaches a peak in 20 to 60 minutes. This may be
delayed if mixed with food but potentiated if mixed with CNS
depressants such as alcohol.
mild doses, it causes euphoria and a little higher dose will cause
dizziness, hypersalivation, hypotonia and even amnesia. Still higher
doses may cause respiratory distress, coma and even death. Over
dosage is very common as the strength of the solution is often
users of GHB may produce dependence and a withdrawal syndrome that
includes anxiety, insomnia, tremor and in severe cases, treatment
resistant psychoses. So next time you go to party or a social event
be careful of the drinks and the food you eat.
is a potent benzodiazepine marketed in over 60 countries,
manufactured by Roche laboratories. Rohypnol came to prominence in
1990, as 'date rape drug.' In Sri Lanka a tablet costs between Rs.
20 to 30 and is available in certain pharmacies and drug retailers.
distributors who import the drug in Sri Lanka do not have the drug
presently, but they claim it will come back to shelves after
registration formalities are over. In the USA the street price
fetches between $ 0.20 and $ 5 per tablet.
potency is 10 times that of Diazepam (Valium) also manufactured by
Roche, Switzerland. A single 1 to 2 milligrams dose reduces anxiety,
inhibition and muscular tension. Effects occur within 30 minutes of
ingestion with peak action in two hours. The effect may last up to
eight to 12 hours.
latter two drugs in the list before codeine are Diazepam and
Phenobarbitone usually sought by drug addicts to get the kicks or to
avoid a dose when they are short of money. Diazepam and Valium
belong to the benzodiazepine group like Rohypnol. Diazepam is a
tranquiliser which exerts anxiolytic, sedative, muscle relaxant and
is also an anti-convulsant used for generalised epilepsy. This drug
should not be sold over the counter like other drugs mentioned
above, but sad to say drug addicts in Sri Lanka prescribe it
use ketamine hydrochloride as an anaesthetic. It came to being in
1960, derived from phencyclidine, and used as a dissociative
drug can cause anaesthesia with our respiratory depression and can
cause bizarre hallucination and ideation which prompted recreational
users to use this drug. When prisoners are not talking some have
tried this drug to extract information as well.
is found in a liquid form which can be injected or ingested but in
clubs a dry form is available. The dry powder can be smoked or
inhaled with marijuana or tobacco. It can be snuffed in
intra-nasally. In the USA 'bullet' or 'bumper' is used as nasal
inhaler with trail mixes of methamphetamine, cocaine, sildenafil (viagra)
days after ingestion or even a few weeks after - some patients still
experience flashes - visual disturbances, palpitations, confusion,
hypertension, respiratory depression leading even to apnea.
Dr. Nalin Kumudu Ashubodha
is a table which summarises the prominent club drugs with
their chemical names and street names
X,M,E,Xtc, Rolls, Beans, Clarity,Adam, Lover's Speed, Hug
Liquid Ectasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Gib, Soap, Scoop, Nitro
Nitro, Cleaner, Serenity, Thunder Nectar, Revitalize Plus
Roche, La Roache, Mexican Valium, Circles, Roofies, Rophies,
R2, Rope, Forget Me Pill
Special K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Keets, Super Acid, Jet, Cat,
Soya, Valium, Diazepam
Barbitone, Barbitone, Barbital Pb
Syfrup Marketed By Spc And Corex- D Syrup Actifed Dm (Glaxo)
Now Does Not Have Codeine
(Chemical precursors of GHB)
baby who brought me so much joy..." and Back to being a baby
four sons in the
house is a source of strength and comfort. And
to Anula Sandanayake whose husband has long left her, they
were more than a source of strength, they were her very being.
"Their father may have left me, but my four sons stood by me
like pillars of strength," she said holding them close.
woman who works in the agency post office opposite the St. Paul's
Milagiriya Church in Colombo 4, however has been praying silently
for a miracle. This is because the unspeakable has happened to her
young son, the baby she held and cuddled - the most recent one whose
cuddles and gurgles she remembers more clearly.
years after his birth, again today, she is holding and cuddling him,
for he can barely speak. He is a teenager, but he can barely eat and
again she is crushing his food like the way it used to be years ago.
This young boy has gone back to infancy - this is what the cancer in
his tongue has done to him.
youngest boy Indika, ought to be playing football and getting into
mock fights with friends, but the only fight he is having right now
is the fight for life.
his dark room, in their rented house near the statue of St. Anthony
at 126/1 Kopiyawatte, Mahara, Kadawatha there is not only darkness,
but despair too. There are tears and heartache in this house because
everyone is worried for Indika who can barely talk now.
rips my very being to see my child this way. He sits on this sofa
and watches the television holding a piece of cloth to his mouth. He
says the cancer is painful. He says he wants to eat koththuroti and
kiri hodi and I make it for him. Today, he wants kos and I made it
for him. I will move heaven and earth for my son," said Anula.
is not easy for Anula Sandanayake who wakes up at 4 a.m. everyday
and cooks for her sons. "Then I make special food for my ailing
son and I tuck him to bed and then leave home around 6.30 to get to
Bambalapitiya on time. I reach home at about 6.45p.m. I want to be
home and be close to my ailing child, but I cannot for if I do not
go to work we cannot eat," she said.
wants to work hard and get all the money she can. This is because
she wants to give Indika everything he asks her for. Sometimes he
asks for things but cannot eat because of his tongue.
Indika opens his mouth. His tongue is short and red and there are
swellings everywhere inside. His cheeks are swollen too. We wish
there was something we can do. But cancer is the unseen enemy that
has no feelings to respond.
had noticed a small difference in his tongue when he was born.
"There was a small nerve, but it was so insignificant. When I
showed him to a doctor he said that there was nothing to worry
about," she recalled.
Prasad was about 12 years there appeared a small boil in his tongue.
A worried Anula had taken him to Colombo and she was sent to
Peradeniya Hospital from Colombo. "We did a test at the Dental
Insitute in Colombo and we were told that a post card will be mailed
to us. I waited for one year and there was no postcard. I went to
the Dental Institute recently to look for it but the nurse there
told me that she cannot look for documents that are a year old. I
was crying at this time because my son was suffering. He could
barely eat because of this boil," she said.
had then found a friend who promised to use some influence and look
for the report.
I went to the Peradeniya hospital and there Dr. Prasad Amaratunga
who treated my son asked me not to worry - that he will do his best
for my son. He gave us his hand phone number too. My son had to
undergo X rays and scans. The doctor asked me about my family
details and advised me to keep my son in Kandy. He consoled us and
promised us his wholehearted support," recalled Anula.
days later they found the report. I took my son to collect it and
was told that my son had a cancer in the tongue. I was devastated. I
held my son and cried on the road. What was happening to my strong
young boy? I asked the world.
only hope was the doctor in Peradeniya. I took my son by bus to
Kandy. By this time my son could barely eat. We went in search of
the doctor," she said.
this way Anula Sandanayake found solace in a single doctor in
Peradeniya. She took her ailing son by bus to Kandy as often as
possible. She watched her little boy, her youngest child starve for
four and a half months without food. He was so thin and dehydrated
that even saline could not be administered. He existed on oral
young Prasad Indika is receiving treatment from Peradeniya. Anula
has been told that there is no 100% guarantee with this cancer. But
she does not want to believe that.
single mother rushes to work and back, her heart heavy with fear and
unhappiness. She wants to give him the required injections but she
cannot - Prasad required 90 injections each of which will cost her
day she watches her youngest son suffer. She shows us a computer -
"A friend gifted this for my son. But he can barely use it. All
he does is watch TV. He watches the commercials in which lively
young boys play hide and seek. Recently he asked me when he will be
able to run like that, What do I tell my child?" cried Anula.
we try to leave the house Indika rises. He is crying. He opens his
mouth and points a finger at his tongue and starts to cry again. He
wants us to take the pain away, he wants us to do something for him.
This is a desperate plea to the only visitors to this house. I
wished there was something we could do for this boy. The heartless
enemy, that is cancer has eaten into his tender years. Anula tries
to comfort him, she holds him close and cries - in fear.
are so many teardrops around us, so much heartache and fear. How
different things will be if life held only happiness for us all - if
only there were no heartache and no tears in this world, how
different it would be for this single mother Anula Sandanayake and
her frightened young sons who remain huddled and helpless.