“A man dying of thirst is walking along a dusty road and he eventually comes to a crossroads. Miraculously, he notices on the road a few drops of water left by a water buffalo that had just passed by. Seeing the drops of water, he falls to his knees and puts his lips to the earth in order to suck up drops. After finishing this act, he tries to determine where the water buffalo came from. Not knowing, he chooses one of the forks in the road to follow” (from a meditation offered by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.)
The moment the thirsty man saw the reality clearly, tasted water, tried to follow the water buffalo. Certainly those few drops did not quench his thirst, but they represented the hope a life giving source is ahead. Like manner, our survivor group of families of the disappeared participated in a workshop designed for their present state of their journey towards a life-giving source up ahead. The workshop was at the Fatima Retreat House Lewella on the 04th and the 05th October 2013.
The first part of the program consisted of learning through activities and games how to “Be happy and Let go of the past”. The group enjoyed, and rays of hope dawning on them to imagine and desire the very things in life that were cherished and destroyed.
In the second part of the workshop the survivor group took part in the outreach program to Mannar and Kilinochchi Districts shared their experiences, insights with the group. The two resettlement villages visited by the survivor group are Thevanpitti in Mannar and Mulankavil in Kilinochchi districts.
The two reflections on two villages touched the group in such a manner and even some of the senior citizens were willing to contribute their best to the outreach programs next time. Accordingly as Buddha says “Altruistic action or even a thought gives more merit than holding religious ceremonies”. Survivors of extreme violence such as families of the disappeared must decide which reality to live in- their old broken world or a new one. This choice to go on is needed to begin, as well as continue, the process of healing. Healing cannot function and complete its rehabilitation unless there is a continual enhancement of recovery. Our survivor group of the families of the disappeared meet regularly and they experience the emotional sharing of “I find in you my pain and joy and you find in me your pain and joy” not only with one another but also with the wider community.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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