Madulsima – In search of Villagers
By Bhagya Alwis
Life is ever moving thing which you cannot stop or hold, it will always move forward with the time with no turning back. You can live in the moment and dwell in those captured memories in future. To fulfil these two desires, you have to sacrifices your time, energy and money.
Travelling is the one thing you can use to fulfil that requirement, and all the time the end is super awesome. When you do hiking it always gives you another opportunity to live your life up to the maximum and it makes your body healthier plus heals your soul from inside.
This time we went to capture those memories from a village veiled with green mountains and mystic haze. This Beautiful village is called Kohonawala and the story of this village runs back to two centuries back, during the 1818 Uva Wellassa revolution two villagers ran away to hide from the Englishmen, after some time there were kids born to this man and woman and they grew as family. When you look at villagers you can see they all have similar features and identical in many ways, and there are more folks about the village and above mentioned one is the one which is more credible.
There are two routes to reach this magnificent lonely village. One is from Kahataruppa which is about 15.5km away from Badulla Town and the other is from Madulsima about 41km from the Badulla town. The first one, Kahataruppa route is the better one as the travelling is relatively easier, especially when the Loggal Oya is in a calm and quiet mood. There are brownish road steeps to reach up to loggal oya and there is no bridge to get in to the village but you have to cross the waterways, which is very hard during the rainy season. Other one is filled with the magnificent of the nature and which is very hard, risky belly string road with hair pin bends filled with Mana bushes. There are about 9km which you have to walk if you are planning to reach to village and trust me that is not an easy task. We started our journey from the famous Madulsima to kohonawala route and unfortunately we started our journey in the evening around 6.30 PM. We got late reach to the Madulsima town and this time we could only capture the sunset at that time.
Once we started the journey it was getting darker and darker even we could not find the trail used by the villagers to reach this solitary village. Luckily we got small fellow from village to show the road to village and he is very fast in this wild trails, which were very hard and strange to us. We climbed down carrying our backpacks and the stationaries and school bags for the children in the village. This rock is slippery and grass has beaten us several times while we are on our way to village, but with the team spirit and unity somehow we manage to reach to the village around 9 PM which took us almost 3 hours, normally villagers take 1 and half hours to reach to the Kohonalawa Village.
Early in the morning we saw the beauty of the village for the first time and it was quite astonishing, when you look at any direction you can only see the mountains and the azure sky. Some people say that sun is rising to this village around 9 AM and till that this village is surrounded with the darkness, actually the truth is villagers can see the sun rise by 9 AM from the top of mountains.
We had traditional villager’s meal as our breakfast, which are Heen Bovitiya Kanda enriched with Ayurvedic benefits and mixture of black beans and corn with spicy paste of chillies and onion. Then we started distributing the school bags and stationaries to the children in the villagT here were about 25 school children out there and it was very happy moment for them and also us. Those children have to walk around 18 km up and down per day to reach to the school. These children lead a difficult life with less facilities but they are very happy with what they have.
When we left from the village, we selected the other route which leads to the Kahataruppa town. Vehicles travel up to Loggal Oya and some distance into the village, but if you are planning to go by vehicle then it must be 4×4 vehicle with higher ground clearance, because this road is not levelled and have to cross the Loggal oya which is about 20 meters and can only cross during the low water levels. Most of the time you can reach to Loggal oya via tuk tuk and the ride is very bumpy and rough. Sometimes you will lift about 6 to 12 inches from your seat, my suggestion is not to have any food before you start this tuk tuk trip and you know what will happen when you had meals.
The main source of income for these villagers are cultivation of paddy, pepper, vegetables and fruits. They are self-sufficient in many areas because of the very few needs and wants they require to live and also things like coconuts, fish, Maldive fish and newspapers are hard to come by. Since the Kohonawala School has classes up to grade 5 the children have to go to Kahataruppa or Madulsima Schools after grade 6 which means total 18 km hike per day. Due to that reason most of the children stop their education at the age of 10 and continue to help their parents.
when we were coming back from the village we missed some part of our soul and we felt our souls are calling back to us to loiter more time in village, unfortunately we have to walk back to our normal rat race which is happening from Monday to Friday, but these villagers are far more healthier and wealthier from the heart when compared to our lives. When you look at anywhere you can only see the greenry filled with fields and wilderness and the blue sky. This is the way you humans should live. Living is not being prisoners in the Concreate constructions and slaves of urban life.
This village has hidden from the strangers for centuries, if you are planning to go to the village please don’t destroy the beauty of nature or the souls of villagers. They are very friendly and helpful until you destroy their living patterns, and don’t forget to bring something to the children in the village of course they would love to see you in their village spending some time with them.