Monday, February 13, 2012

A little info about Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island nation located off the southern coast of the India subcontinent. Its official name is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. It was known as Ceylon until 1972. Due to its location, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and Southeast Asia, and was an important stop along the old Silk Road.

Sri Lanka has a very interesting history. It was an independent monarchy for several hundred years until the Portuguese, Dutch and British each took turns ruling it. The British held control of the island from about 1800 until 1970. From 1970-2009, Sri Lanka was an independent republic. That time period, however was marred by a 25 year long civil war. Since 2009, Sri Lanka has held a presidential election and there have been approximately 3 years of peace in the country.

The population makeup of Sri Lanka consists of the Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs, Malays and the aboriginal Vedda people. The primary religion of the island nation is Buddhist (69%), with a smaller amount of Hindus (15%), Muslims (8%), and Christians (8%). There is a very important note about religion in Sri Lanka. It is against the law to convert someone from the religion that they were "born into".  The punishment if someone is caught can range from deportation to imprisonment of up to 7 years.

The purpose of our trip will be to spend time working with the orphanages we are visiting. There are 5 men and 6 women traveling, and we have several things we want to accomplish. The women will mostly be working with the children by playing with them and teaching them curriculum. The men will be constructing a basketball court for the kids to play with, as well as take care of any additional items that need to be repaired.

I will be trying to post a few updates throughout the trip, depending on internet, so please stop back by and see what we are up to!

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