Good Shepherd Mission Partners (sisters and lay) in Sri Lanka decided to celebrate Christmas 2015 in a fresh and different way. The new blood was pumped in by our Province Leader Sr Francine Muthugala in association with the partnership for mission core team. It was decided to select a village in the wilderness close to the borders of the previous war zone with poor infrastructure.
The name of the village is Namalpura. That village was the fourth stage of Kalyanipura new settlements. It was established in the year 2012. The government at that time promised them many things including housing systems and infrastructure facilities. These have not materialized. 270 families established their homes in this village expecting it to flow with milk and honey. They were given two acres of paddy land and half an acre to build a house. The majority have left the place because of the numerous difficulties they had to go through.
They have no means of generating income.
The villagers are unable to cultivate the land due to scarcity of water and destruction caused by wild animals. Elephants are abundant and wild elephant attacks are common.
Power supply is not yet established - a fundamental requirement of survival.
The road network is in shambles.
There is hardly any means of transportation.
Children have to travel nearly 7 kilometres to the nearest school. The bus service is not very regular and often the bus doesn’t reach the school on time.
There are no proper sanitary facilities.
Nearest hospital and other government offices are at Sampath Nuwara - 8 kilometres away from the village.
The hospital is poorly equipped and there is only one doctor. Invariably he is on leave.
Midwives avoid coming to the village due to the poor transport.
So with all these difficulties only 48 families remained in the village.
All the communities integrated so that this was the major Christmas project for the province. All the partners in mission experienced the mutuality, trust, co-responsibility, and the commitment together in doing this project. This was the best practical introduction of the elements of the partnership for mission.
The Partners for Mission in the Good Shepherd community organized a medical camp with the help of Father Kalum Dias OMI. Mr. Yogendrakumar of A. Baurs and company helped us in obtaining medicines. Some of our mission partners who are doctors helped in the fine organization of selecting medicines, organizing lab tests, organizing technicians, optometrists, spectacles, doctors, pharmacists, and the other supporting staff. We managed to reach the village early in the morning on the second day of our journey. This journey for mission with sisters and the lay, working hand in hand, showed us that we need both for our sustainability.
In addition to this all the communities in the province contributed to prepare dry ration packs. Some communities contributed in kind and others gave monitory donations. Remaining funds were used to give raincoats and umbrellas to the children who had to travel far to school.
Good Shepherd values, spirituality and charism were experienced deeply and highlighted in this journey. We had no hierarchy. We all worked for the mission. At the end of the day all of us including the villagers shared a locally cooked meal celebrating our “commitment together”.
We hope to continue in our journey and to 'adopt' this village. We hope to follow the progress of the development of the village as we mature in our own journey towards Partnership for Mission.
Click here for more photos - Working together for the Mission