Prematilaka is 49 years old. He lives with his aged parents in a small shack. This family has very little possessions. All their clothes are in the stacked-up suitcases in the one foto. If not for Prematilaka’s sponsor Emily P. who resides in Ontario, Canada, he would not even have had a mattress to sleep on, and some nice new clothes she purchased for him last year.
On visiting him last year, I realized what a hardship it is for both Prematilaka and his father to trek to the local market where they try to sell wooden spoons which the father makes. Their little home is way down a sandy hill on slippery slopes made less dangerous only by root systems that bulge out of the ground and act as retaining steps. Thankfully, one can also grab a tree branch, here and there to help hoist oneself up, on the long ascent back to the main road.
For someone born with quite severe handicaps — angular limb deformities plus mental disabilities, Prematilaka has a very sweet and gregarious personality with quite a serene outlook on life. He can be seen often just walking by himself around town, communicating as best he can with roadside fruit or vegetable stall owners. Or even passers-by who are kind enough to stop and talk. He has difficulty speaking but everyone in the small town can decipher what he is saying as he is such a regular walk-by.
What he enjoys most is standing at his father’s side on market days, selling their wooden ware of large and small cooking utensils. Outdoors, under a shady eucalyptus or sweet-scented frangipanni tree, connecting with the villagers, feeling useful, lights up his otherwise very ordinary life. He cannot read nor write and they do not own a television so he is quite cut off from the world. Yet he finds solace in his daily walk-abouts, and finds many things of interest in neighboring Koslanda to occupy his time with. Sometimes, he sits at a bus stop and observes passengers as they alight and descend the bus. I myself have driven past him on a road, astonished that he is all by himself. A lone figure ambling along as best he can. But he waved with delight on recognition, lighting up his whole face with the brightest smile. My colleague and projects manager, Mr. Moorthy who was driving had this to say of him: Suyin aunty, don’t be sad. He is a happy man.
He is certainly a much different person since his sponsor Emily P. came into his life. His monthly support is the only regular support that he can count on for nutritious food. However, i believe he is happy knowing he is loved by someone he has never even met! All he knows is that she lives in a very far away place.
You can also make someone very happy. Become a Sponsor!
Change a life!