Ranmenika is 65 yrs old, and earns her living from breeding goats. She lives in a house in close proximity to the Mahadangasweva tank. There is no electricity in the village, the tank is their spa dipping pool. the average income I am told in this village is approximately LKR 1500. “I have eight goats” said Ranmenika obviously quite attached to the brood.
I thought of writing about these two ladies in response to the first comment I received from a guy from Oz, who said if I was a logical female I wouldn’t be photographing girls and I would be photographing more old women and men etc. I of course made no claims to being a logical female … but his advice was well meant no doubt but as an illogical female I have no one mission in life … but there are several. …
One was to make this blog a “not so Hi! magazine,” where I can write about the “other Sri Lanka,” where the majority of Sri Lankans live. These men and women of substance. often toil away without any recognition. They have amazing stories of what life was like in the Sri Lanka of their youth. Their courage and perseverance in the face of adversity is amazing.
The young have a grace and beauty that is often unmatched by the city lasses but I think the hard work, lack of good nutrition and access to good preventive medicine all impact to make them age faster than what I would call the “Hi Brigade” of Colombo. The other day as we circled a wedding walking across the foyer at a posh hotel my colleague Dilinika commented “this looks like a Hi! wedding” So living is either Hi! or not
These ladies will never make it to that famous glossy as things stand. … so this space is their “Not so Hi! Magazine”
I met Omalpage Missiya last year soon after the shaken not stirred episode. 65 yrs then, 66 now she is one of a kind. when she was in her 20’s the daily wage for a labourer was the princely sum of 75 cents. However, she could earn Rs.5 to Rs.10 a day illegally tapping coconut trees for the sap which is the raw liquor– toddy . With 5 children to feed she had no doubts where her choice lay.
One day she was up among the coconut fronds collecting the sap onto a clay pot, when she realised two policemen were waiting for her at the bottom of the tree. As she slithered down competently, she laughingly told me that she gently knocked the pot against the tree and by the time she reached the cops all evidence had trickled down the side of the tree. She lived to tap many a tree and relate that story with mirth and to become one of the quickest and capable “cement mixing, concrete worker” of her village. One quietly claimed she can do the work of ten people.