Plank by plank amidst the rubble they built new homes
Amidst the unceasing tales of misery and woe, there is one story that highlights the human spirit that can rise against all odds to overcome adversity. In the coastal village of Wellawatte in Hikkaduwa, many houses were destroyed burying many people under the debris and rendering others homeless.

But living in camps and eating handouts was not something that these once proud people could adjust to. They had lived on a modest income but never had to beg for food, shelter or clothing.

Luckily for them, their life in the camp was brief one largely due to their own determination and also to the support of others. A joint effort by the people of the village, the clergy and members of different political parties irrespective of party politics has resulted in their once destroyed homes being replaced by temporary wooden homes.

Ven. Beddegama Welivitiye Sumana Thera is among those who were engaged in the project. All the goods needed to put up the wooden, one-room houses came from the village of Welivita - another village in the area, which has close links with the residents of Wellawatte.

The timber, carpentry tools and manpower were all harnessed from within these two villages. Asbestos sheets for the roof were provided by the local government and provincial council authorities in the area. With these bare essentials the people were set to build 20 houses within a day.

The work started early Thursday morning and by evening, 20 new wooden houses stood instead of the ones that were devastated on December 26. In a simple ceremony held as the sun set over the southern horizon Ven. Sumana Thera conducted a simple religious ceremony and handed out keys to the families. They were also provided with basic kitchen utensils.

"We did not depend on the government or any non-governmental organisation. The people used their own resources and now they are happy that they can leave the camp and start living, even in a small way," the Thera said.

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