Serving in Sri Lanka

Global Mission Intern reflects on life in #SriLanka

Julianna Nitz serves as a Global Mission Intern in Sri Lanka.  Her work with Global Ministries is funded by your offerings to Week of Compassion.

For nearly thirty years, Sri Lankans were divided against one another in the well-known civil war between the majority Sinhalese ethnic group and the minority Tamil group, namely the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It is estimated that 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed and more than 250, 000 people were (and in some cases still are) displaced. And though a cease-fire agreement was reached in 2009, the conflict still remains as reconciliation efforts only come slowly.

Through our Global Ministries partnership, we work with church organizations and schools in these affected areas to bring relief efforts to the communities. Our church outreach offers a variety of programs like well-digging services, grief and trauma counseling, continuing education classes for adults, English classes for teachers, and building construction efforts. Within the schools, special programs have been created to help orphaned and injured children, provide counseling services, and to raise children in an atmosphere of respect, kindness, and inclusivity.

Specifically here at Uduvil Girls College, we challenge our students to the highest degree of academic standards while fostering ideals of honesty, camaraderie, and compassion and also promoting women empowerment through numerous student-leadership roles.

[A poem submitted to The Daily Leader]

I know now we are one

Who are you?
I travelled all night to find an answer.
Who are you?
Who am I to you?

I looked in your eyes and you looked at mine.
I smiled with you and you smiled in return.
We had no language in common, but we soon became friends;
I understand now that we are one.

I live in the luxuries of the West –
A roof over my head with a family that I love.
But you; you have lost all that you once called your own.
You are still hurting because of the monsters of fire that once overruled you.
You and I have been made to think that we are enemies!

We have been separated over the years because we spoke different languages.
But I never realized that I was hurting you and you were hurting me…
I never realized that we share the same blood.
I never realized that you are my brother or sister and that we belong to the same family.

Forgive me Appa, Amma, Akka, Anna, Thambi, Thangachchi;
For all the years of pain that I gave you.
I will never know or understand what it is like,
But today I choose to make a difference.
Today, I choose to come to you not with war but with peace.
We have been separated far too long and now it’s time to unite.

We are one nation, divided only by the barriers created by man and not God.
Yes, I am a Sinhalese and you are a Tamil, but I know now that we are one!

-Okaym

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