John and Ayesha our hosts bought 10 acres in Digana as a development project to help the local villagers whose lives are third world, and change all their lives. They developed Tamarind Gardens. The area experiences drought for 7 months of the year and the government does not supply continuous water even though it charges for it. John and Ayesha, in collaboration with Walker Tours, a Sri Lanka based company provide an authentic opportunity for visitors to the area to experience life in rural Sri Lanka. Visitors are able to assist with projects, depending on their length of stay, eg, build a chicken coop, hook up a water tank, anything and everything. They have established a small Jersey herd and John is proud of his neufchatel style cheese and clotted cream. He is able to sell these to specialist organic shops in Colombo where there is high demand. We tasted the clotted cream, with home made scones. Oh Gosh! Almost as good as Cornish clotted cream. (In fact better, but we can’t say that). We were both really taken by the whole concept, our hosts and the magical spirit of the place.
The cabins overlook Victoria reservoir which is fished by the local villagers. We had a paddle out up to the dam in one of the fisherman’s canoes – cool breezes across the water and totally peaceful. At certain times of the year the elephants do come across from the opposite hillside to graze. They are “encouraged” by the use of firecrackers not to swim across to the village.
John has seen a Russell’s viper by his cowshed which his manager was swift to dispatch. The viper is responsible for the highest number of human deaths….. (not a common species in this area)
Cultural experience in Kandy, Ves dancers. Highly regarded and loads of symbolic dancing. Some of it came over more like a circus, until the symbolism was explained by Marcus, our guide and chauffeur.
Supper cooked on a wood fire range, helped, or rather not helped by Paul, making string hoppers. They are rice flour and water, squirted onto a reed dish and then steamed. Yummy.