Medicine and hospital
In Sri Lanka, children can go to the doctor for free. Medicines also cost nothing. For these reasons one could say that the health care of the people in Sri Lanka is good. The problem, however, is the consequences of the civil war, which cost a lot of money. The state can only pay the health care costs with restrictions. Much more money is being spent on the military than on medical care for the people.
Consequences of the tsunami
On December 26, 2004, the earth shook off the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The result of this earthquake was a gigantic tidal wave that killed people and devastated land in many states in the Indian Ocean. Such a tidal wave is known as a tsunami.
Sri Lanka was also affected by this tidal wave. Over 38,000 people died. Entire villages were torn into the sea and many people lost their homes. People are deeply afraid that something like this could happen again. It took the country a long time to recover from the aftermath of the earthquake and tidal wave. Around 5000 children had lost their parents as a result of the tsunami and were orphans.
Many children go to school in Sri Lanka, but in rural areas many children also have to contribute to the household income. They do not attend school or are often absent from class. Many children also have to work on the large cinnamon and tea plantations.
Some parents are in such dire straits that they sell their children. They are forced to either work or prostitution. It’s not just girls. In Sri Lanka, many young boys are also forced into child prostitution. It is said that more than 40,000 children work as prostitutes and sell their bodies to tourists.
It is especially difficult for children of parents who work as fishermen. Life as a fisherman is tough. Often there are too few fish on the coasts of Sri Lanka and the fishermen have to go far away towards the Sea of Japan. The children are then left alone and have to cope themselves.
The youngsters then somehow kill their time, they don’t have much to do. You work as a shrimp fisher yourself and don’t go to school. Often enough, the plight of children is also exploited by sex tourists. While the girls are threatened in Thailand, the boys are also increasingly at risk here.
Eating in Sri Lanka
Rice and curry
As in all Asian countries, rice is simply part of the meal. There are many different types of rice.
Similar to India, there are various curry dishes. The national dish of Sri Lanka is rice and curry. Curry is not the curry spice that you may have already tried, but a dish. Meat, fish or vegetables are prepared in bite-sized pieces in a sauce. The spices come from Sri Lanka. For more information about Sri Lanka and Asia, please visit physicscat.
Another specialty is a very hot chili paste called Pol Sambol, which is likely to be far too hot for children.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
You usually eat warm at lunchtime and in the evening. In the evening the rice is often replaced by flatbread. This consists of rice flour (rice after all), grated coconut and water and is called roti. In many families, rotis is also available for breakfast or in between meals, then also sweet with jam or hot with sambol.
You can also eat thin pancakes, which are also made from rice flour, coconut milk and yeast. These are called hoppers and are not that easy to make because they are very fragile.
These hoppers are also often filled with eggs and they are called Egg Hoppers, a dish that children in Sri Lanka especially like to eat. These hoppers are also mostly eaten for breakfast. In general, breakfast in Sri Lanka is very varied and so very different from our rolls with jam.
With the right hand!
By the way, people in Sri Lanka also like to eat with their hands. You should always only use your right and never your left hand, this is considered unclean because it is also used when going to the toilet. Tea is of course primarily drunk in Sri Lanka, as the country is famous for its tea.
The fruits that children in Sri Lanka like to eat are healthy and tasty. On the market you can buy pineapples, papayas, mangoes and bananas, which taste much more aromatic than ours. The passion fruit fruits, which are available in different types, are also inexpensive. Of course, fresh coconuts are also available everywhere.
The “king coconut” that you can buy in Sri Lanka on every street corner is particularly popular. The juice of this nut is tasty and healthy at the same time. Since the nuts are always opened fresh, there is no risk of getting sick. Unfortunately this is different with tap water. Children in Sri Lanka often get diarrhea because there are bacteria in the water that make them sick.