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Sep 21st
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Home Feature Stories Great Love After Asia Tsunami Their Future Home - The model home

Their Future Home - The model home

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Their Future Home
Designing in Sri Lanka
The ceremony
The model home
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The model home
The first thing that greeted the guests as they approached the house was the veranda, a place where the whole family could sit and chat in the cool evenings. Walking through the veranda, visitors stepped into the living room. Doors on each side of the living room led to the bedrooms. Walking through the living room, visitors entered a spacious dining room. Beyond that was the kitchen, where an L-shaped kitchen counter sparkled in the sunlight.

"I like the kitchen," said 29-year-old Kanthi Weersekara to her friend. Cooking for her family was a pleasure for Kanthi, but when her home was destroyed by the tsunami, she and her family moved into a Tzu Chi tent shelter. Now, Kanthi was imagining herself back in a real kitchen, preparing meals properly for her family. She looked around and said to herself, "I want to buy some bowls and plates to decorate the kitchen and keep it clean all the time."

Rishan Adahan, his wife, and a two-year-old daughter also walked through the house. "I never imagined that one day I'd have a house as beautiful as this one," marveled Mrs. Adahan. The temporary housing they currently live in is uncomfortable. Mrs. Adahan vowed that after moving into their new home, she would do her best to keep it clean.

Mahira Wazeer, 38, lives in a Tzu Chi tent with her husband. Their daughter died in the tsunami and their son is still missing. When Tzu Chi volunteers visited before, Mahira poured out her heart, hoping that her missing son would return. She told the volunteers that she didn't want to move to the Great Love Village. "We don't want to move because I fear our son won't be able to find us," she said, sadly shaking her head.

However, bolstered by the constant care and concern of volunteers, she showed up at the ceremony in a black Islamic dress. After seeing the house, she said happily that she loved its design. "If my son returns, I'll bring him to see our new home."

Staying on
Looking down from Yahangal Temple on Mount Badagriya, one can see the whole city of Hambantota. The details of the construction in Siribopura are easily visible--the azure reservoirs, the golden fields, the red roofs among the green trees.

"The village plaza is on higher ground, and there will be a school for the whole city. We have also planned a place for women to get job training. This is a very hopeful blueprint," said Zhang Shi-wen cheerfully as he looked down on the construction site from higher ground.

Zheng Bang-yuan planned to stay in Siribopura to supervise the construction. "When we first arrived, we were wondering if we could complete the model home on time. We were glad we did it." Now, he will get to see the whole construction process through to completion.

"Ever since we arrived in Colombo, we have sensed the kindness from the locals," said Liang Shi-xiang, who specializes in construction. The tsunami survivors have grown to be friends with the Tzu Chi volunteers. Liang attributes this feeling of goodwill to the fact that the volunteers have remained in the disaster areas ever since the tsunami occurred. Tzu Chi's involvement in Siribopura will continue into the future.

The volunteers plan to oversee the creation of the village and ensure that the construction standards remain high. They will take good care of construction workers during the construction period. Volunteers from Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore are also forming teams that will come and work on the landscaping.

Everyone's hard work has allowed Tzu Chi to do much charitable work here. Construction has started on the new city, and tsunami survivors are able to look to the future with hope and anticipation. Liang Xiu-ming, a carpentry specialist, has also decided to stay on to supervise the construction of the Tzu Chi Village. He captured the spirit of cooperation and commitment that Tzu Chi has brought to relief work in Sri Lanka with a comment written in his notebook: "The beauty of life, and the most precious value in life, is offering help without asking for anything in return."

By Qiu Shu-juan
Translated by Lin Sen-shou
Photographs by Lin Yan-huang
Source: Tzu Chi Quarterly Fall 2005


" The beauty of a group lies in the refinement of its individuals. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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