Living in a society or some sort of organised community should involve a lot of communication and strong links between the different connectors in order to uphold a supportive environment. First world countries claim to offer a good life within such super-developed structures of support and connection. I believe now, having experienced the Sri Lankan community, that many of us are absolutely disillusioned and mislead.
What we have is a network mostly ruled by capitalist authorities, the big companies and financial structures. We live more as individuals than within one or different communities. At home, I don’t need anyone and can buy or afford to get anything I want all by myself. There is usually no need to ask for help as you can always pay someone to do something. You are massively insured in case something might happen to you, and so the need for a strong sense of community is overpowered by ego and materialistic goals. I have always had the impression that people are competing in some way or another about everything, but usually about really unimportant materialistic things like big cars and houses. Often, people never really seem to be able to be happy for the other person and share their joy. I have had the impression that there is always some sense of envy or pity.
In a society like the one in Sri Lanka, in which people had to endure war for many years, had to live through the disastrous Tsunami impact and have been suppressed, exploited and fooled by their authorities, people had to keep up strong connections in order to survive. There is little if any health insurance or pension, there is little financial help from the government and no minimum wage. There are not many health facilities around and some people don’t even have enough money to buy some food.
Even though the situation is sometimes horrifying people here are much RICHER in HUMAN VALUES than our so-called developed countries will ever be. We might be more developed in terms of technology, industries, infrastructures, finances and property but that doesn’t make us rich at all. What makes a place and life rich is the people living in it and how they interact with each other. People supporting each other and doing things for one another out of pure joy and gratitude or sense of hospitality and community has been rather overwhelming for me. I have experienced many acts of pure kindness and I have mostly felt really strange. In the beginning, I felt like I was causing unnecessary inconveniences and couldn’t really accept and embrace these acts of kindness. How twisted is that? What has made me act like that? Am I not able to simply enjoy such acts and embrace the experience? I have had to be flexible in various ways in this completely different society, but, by and by, I have also learned to accept that sometimes people only want to be nice without any second thoughts or intentions and asking for nothing in return. Purity and authenticity is what I have seen and learned to appreciate. People are much more innocent as they are less influenced by everything in the world. They seem to have upheld their identity as a culture and their purity as human beings whereas our western minds have already been shaped in such a way, most probably by the media and capitalism, that trust, community and human values seem to have faded away more and more. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t got any strong connections as home but it seems more common, natural and pure in these communities like in Sri Lanka.
Letting go of expectations and living with an open heart is a dangerous way of life in terms of
vulnerability, but I reckon that is part of what life should be about, even if it means that not
everything is under control all the time and that ups and downs have to be faced on a regular basis. I am grateful having experienced this strong connection and sense of community with the Savi Jaya foundation committee, their members and everyone I have met in this wonderful place.Many strong friendships and bonds have been founded here, and I will certainly never forget that some communities are there for one another, whatever happens, and don’t always expect anything in return. I hope I can take this feeling and open heart to all the places I am going to in the future, and have deep and authentic experiences, even though it is hard to pack up again and move on at the end of such a great time.