Drive along a twisting road to Udugama from Galle, and you will stumble upon one of the best kept secrets of the South. The Hiyare forest reserve, a lush 600-acre picture-postcard rainforest, located only 17 km from the city, is a veritable paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with its pristine beauty and wealth of flora and fauna.
Seated on the uneven but mat-spread ground, the faces are upturned with enthusiasm. The heat is scorching, with a dry wind swirling up the sand, but within four cadjan-thatched huts, no one fidgets, no one whispers. In the pin-drop silence, they listen and pore over the papers, bending uncomfortably to write furiously.