In a world often overshadowed by discord and division, a heartening tale of unity and understanding emerged as a group of vibrant youth of the Jaffna Peninsula embarked on a life-altering journey to Caritas Chilaw under the ongoing”Peace Building Project” funded by MISEREOR Germany. This soul-stirring exposure visit to Chilaw took place from November 3rd to 5th, 2023, leaving many memories in their hearts.
Embracing Challenges and Warm Welcomes
The journey began with heavy rain and sudden power cuts, but the spirits of the Jaffna youth remained unique. Despite the unexpected weather, the Nawadankulama community welcomed the Jaffna youths with open and warm hearts and radiant smiles. These young ambassadors of goodwill & peace brought with them an abundance of gifts for the Nawadankulama youths, symbolizing the power of love and sharing in building bridges between communities.
In a testament to their commitment to building connections, on the first night, the Jaffna youths stayed in the homes of Nawadankulama village youths, immersing themselves in interpersonal experiences with the local realities.
A Fusion of Cultures: A Unifying Tapestry
The heart of this remarkable visit was a cultural exchange that took place on the second day. In the morning, at Nawadankulama church, the two groups presented a captivating cultural program, showcasing the vibrant tapestries of both Tamil and Sinhala cultures. Despite language barriers, with most Tamil youths unable to speak Sinhala and vice versa, they communicated with their hearts. Through this, friendships were formed, and new relationships blossomed.
Both sides shared and savoured traditional and delicious foods, some of which were new to the youths. The culinary exchange was not only a feast for the palate but also a celebration of unity and harmony.
Harmony Beyond Borders
The Nawadankulama villagers exhibited graciousness and hospitality that moved the Jaffna youths deeply. It was a reflection of the profound goodwill that transcended linguistic and cultural boundaries, fostering a shared sense of humanity.
The journey continued with a visit to Naththandiya St. Lurdu church, where both groups participated in a blood donation campaign and an inter-religious exhibition, organized in collaboration with Caritas Chilaw Janasaviya and Department of Christian Religious Affairs followed by fellowship lunch by hosting diocese – Caritas Chilaw.
The visit took on an even more profound dimension with visits to four inter-religious places, including Munneshwaram Kovil, Naththandiya Church, a temple, and a mosque. The youths gained a deeper appreciation for the diversity of religious traditions that coexist in Sri Lanka, further cementing the message of unity and understanding.
Katteikadu Village: A Journey of Fun and Friendship
The final leg of this remarkable journey took the group to Katteikadu village where they were welcomed into the homes of the Katteikadu village youths, an experience that enriched their understanding of local life and culture.
Farewell with Gratitude
As the dawn of the 5th of November morning broke, it was time to bid farewell. The Jaffna youths departed from Katteikadu, leaving behind not only cherished memories but also new friendships and a deep sense of gratitude.
Three special figures graced this remarkable journey: Rev. Fr. Luke Nelson, the National Director of CSL, joined the expedition on both days. In addition, the Chilaw DC Director, Fr. Dilan Mariyans, and the Jaffna DC Director, Fr. Eugene Francis, Mr. Andrew, the CPS Coordinator from Germany were part of this remarkable & incredible experience.
A Journey of Love and Peace
This exposure visit was not just a journey but a voyage of the heart and soul. It showcased the boundless potential for love, friendship, and understanding that lies within the hearts of the youth. Language barriers and cultural differences couldn’t hinder the blossoming of relationships that will hopefully continue to bridge communities, fostering peace and harmony.
The Jaffna DC youth’s visit to Chilaw DC serves as a shining example of the power of unity and love to overcome all challenges. It’s a testament to the enduring human spirit that seeks connection and harmony in a world that sorely needs it.