After visiting war affected Trincomalee yesterday, I was in for a different experience today. "A super model is coming," Dr. Vinya, Executive Director of Sarvodaya, had said. "Come and join us on Sunday."
So, I went. It was Petra Nemcova, a Czech supermodel. ( http://www.petranemcova.org/)
Her foundation Happy Heart Foundation had donated Sarvodaya to build a youth training center in Kalmunai, eastern Sri Lanka. But because of the conflict risk, she was not to go there. Instead, she was to visit a community center, that is being constructed in Balapitiya, 60 KM south of Colombo.
Petra had a horrible experience in the tsunami. She was vacationing, with her boyfriend, in Thailand when the tsunami hit on December 26,2004. The waves swept away both of them from their bungalow. She survived with broken pelvis. Her boyfriend didn't.
We had put an elaborated program for her welcome. Children and their parents had been ready to welcome the donor long, delayed by 2 hours, on hot sunny afternoon. There were traditional dances, songs, and speeches.
She seemed impressed by Sarvodaya's work. We had a brief chat. I explained to her briefly about Sarvodaya's philosophy, and community reach. She seemed visibly moved by what she saw and heard.
She said she had been to Nepal recently. "We went to the monastery in the highest altitude in the world," she said. I asked if she trekked. "No we hired a helicopter," She answered. And, added, "I would like to go trekking, when I have more time."
She is in Sri Lanka as a part of her tour of visiting tsunami affected countries. Right before she came here, she was in Indonesia. From here, she is off to Spain and then to the US.