Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Oct 01st
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Home Feature Stories Great Love After Asia Tsunami Their Future Home - The ceremony

Their Future Home - The ceremony

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Their Future Home
Designing in Sri Lanka
The ceremony
The model home
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The ceremony
Although rain the previous day had left some puddles, the day of the groundbreaking ceremony arrived hot and sunny. The picturesque scenery surrounding Siribopura easily allowed one to sense Mother Nature's vitality. The golden sunlight cast dazzling reflections on ponds in a nearby wildlife preserve. Aquatic birds danced gracefully on the surface of the water. Occasionally, monkeys could be seen jumping from limb to limb. Cattle grazed leisurely.

Despite the scorching sun, there was an atmosphere of happiness and excitement. Sri Lankan, Buddhist, and Tzu Chi flags flapped rapidly in the wind. People moved throughout the area with enthusiasm and anticipation. Cheerful music contributed to the feeling of joy. Even the Tzu Chi volunteers setting up the tables, chairs, and decorations felt their own hearts beating faster in anticipation of the grand event.

Hundreds of people of diverse ethnic groups and interests arrived for the groundbreaking ceremony. Tzu Chi volunteers from Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka were present. Officials from Hambantota attended, as did the chief of the Urban Development Authority. There were abbots of local Buddhist temples, Islamic elders, and Catholic priests on hand. Anil de Silva and Shirosha Prithiviraj Guntiltake of the Leader Day Company brought 13 employees to the ceremony.

Anil and Shirosha had been instrumental in bringing Tzu Chi volunteers to Sri Lanka soon after the tsunami. "I remember that Mr. Silva came four days after the tsunami hit and discussed with me about having a place that Tzu Chi volunteers could hold relief work," said Mr. M.A. Piyasena, a local Hambantotan official. "The conversations we had made me aware that their projects would be very helpful to the victims. We immediately provided a house in which Tzu Chi could hold a free clinic." (For more information on Anil, Shirosha, and the Leader Day Company, see "My Friends, My Family" in the summer 2005 issue of Tzu Chi Quarterly.)

The groundbreaking ceremony began with many speeches and gestures of appreciation for the Great Love Village. A message of blessing from Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, was read at the ceremony by Hsieh Ching-kuei, who is in charge of Tzu Chi humanitarian aid and cultural affairs in Sri Lanka. Mahida Amaraweera, Sri Lankan deputy minister for urban development and water supply, expressed thanks to Tzu Chi for helping the survivors. He said he would do his best to ensure smooth completion of the construction project.

In addition to the presentations, local volunteers of all ages performed on stage to inspire the survivors. Relief goods were distributed to those in need. Over 300 families who attended the ceremony picked up milk powder, sugar and blankets. Finally, the official ceremony came to an end as cornerstones were laid to mark foundations of the new buildings that would follow.

Once the ceremony was over, it was time for the guests to tour the showpiece home. As they lined up to go through the house, they were clearly looking forward to a view of their future. Anticipation for the new houses and the city replaced the worry and uncertainty that they had born for so long.


" People who are preoccupied with past achievements cannot humble themselves. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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