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Mitratā – Around Sri Lanka Day 1

“Every new friend is a new adventure… The start of more memories”

~ Patrick Lindsay ~

Ever since I set off my Rotaract voyage with Rotaract Mora in 2011, I have been lucky enough to meet a bunch of great friends, mostly from Sri Lanka as well as a few from other nations across the world. The horizons expanded when Rotaract Alumni Mora took a courageous decision to visit Singapore under the project ‘Singaract’ in 2018. Inspired by the success of the project ‘Singaract’, project ‘Mitratā’ was initiated as a successor to follow its footprint. The visit of Rtr. Amrit Subedi, the President-Elect of Rotaract Club of Pokhara, laid the foundation of project Mitratā. 

Amrit landed on the island on the 6th of October. He was warmly welcomed by Vice President of Rotaract Alumni Mora, RtrIsuru Dharmadasa. He was then safely accompanied to the accommodation facility in Wellawatte. 

The journey on 7th October was called to order as early as 4.30 am in the morning. For the first time, I met Amrit in person and he was very generous to serve a cup of coffee early in the morning. We left Wellawatte and reached the Multimodal Centre in Makumbura at around 5.45 am. RtrRusiru Gurusinghe, the Environmental Services Director of Rotaract Alumni Mora joined us at Makumbura.  

Throughout the highway bus ride to Galle, Amrit did not fail to share the details of his family, how he grew up and the political & educational status of Nepal. He went on to express his passion for cricket, especially his love for Lasith Malinga. It did not take us long to realize what a good speaker he is! 

We reached Galle at around 7.30 am. Breakfast was an utmost priority before starting the day’s proceedings. For the first time, Amrit was introduced to milk-rice & string hoppers, along with dhal and a spicy kochchimiris sambol. He enjoyed the newly introduced food very much, which was evident from his face (not to mention the tears that came out due to the spiciness) 

The first destination for the day was the Japanese Peace Pagoda in Rumassala. The ride uphill Rumassala in a tuk-tuk was a novel experience for Amrit, as Nepal does not possess the type of tuk-tuks available on the island. To our utmost relief, tranquility prevailed at peace pagoda, which is generally crowded with people on weekends. The site provided a magnificent view of the Galle harbor and the Dutch Fort. Not only Amrit, but we too were mesmerized by the breathtaking view of sunbathing Galle.  

We then arrived at the jungle beach. The calm waters on a sunny morning were inviting us to take a dip in the shallow shores. Eventually, that invitation was so irresistible that all three of us decided to take a sea bath. It was a first time experience for Amrit with the sea and he was overwhelmed with the experience to an extent that it was hard for us to take him out from the sea. The sea bath followed a tasty sip of king coconut and we were ready for the heat of noon! 

As the noon welcomed the morning, we reached the iconic Dutch Fort of Galle. The climb to the top of the rampart gave a clear view of a first-class match played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, which Amrit enjoyed with passion. He went on to mention how much he would love to meet Lasith Malinga in person and how much he was inspired by Slinga’s IPL heroics. 

Amrit was introduced to the historic buildings inside the Fort and was explained how the colonial architectural style has later influenced the local architecture. The walk along the rampart up to the lighthouse provided a mesmerizing view of the Indian ocean. 

After a sumptuous lunch with Indian cuisine, we returned to the bus station and got into a bus that took the route along the coastal belt, back to Colombo. 

As the evening reached its conclusion, we reached Colombo to attend the joint meeting. The meeting was followed by a fellowship dinner. I wished Amrit a safe journey on the remaining days of the tour and parted with the intention of meeting him again when we visit Nepal under the next phase of project Mitrata. It is my sincere wish that I see this vociferous friend once again, in the cool climes of Pokhara! 

By: Rtr. Himantha Alahakoon 

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