Eariler in the week, I had spotted this little village on the way back from the school shoot and thought it would make an interesting shot looking from the rode up to the hills. I finally managed to find the village, Konesapuri (Saribaltheevu), after taking roads that headed south.

I was on my own with no PIN help or other guides. I drove through the village and passed a bright green house. As I passed, a tall young man with a moustache jogged up and called out to me. I was fairly dubious at first, but I drove on and pulled up. He came over and asked the usual ‘how are you?’ and ‘where are you from?’ but his English did not finish there. It turned out this eloquent chap had relocated up to the village, so I asked him if he had tome to show me around.

The village had 150 houses but I just thought I’d concentrate on the ones near his house. He took me to his next door neighbour’s house. He told them about my project and they let me photograph their house and family. In chatting to Nesanithi, I discovered he was he was an artist, so I took a break from the shooting and went to his house to look at his work. I was introduced to his mother, brother, aunt and grandmaother. They even isisted that I kissed his sister’s daughter!!

I looked through his work, all in Tamil style and very complex joining buddas with modern day thinking. He was looking at religion and conflict. He’d also done an amazing replica of the Taj Mahal. The attention to detail was almost OCD. He’d done some portraits of some Bollywood stars, which, when compared to the orginal pictures were almost perfect. I photographed all his family and got his details to send the pictures to him.

He got out his certificates he’d received at school, ranging from from singing and art to health. He was so proud of them, and was one of the the first things he menitoned to me when we met.

The house was extremely basic, with a simple sofa without cushions. The beds were little more than pieces of cardboard on the floor. This simplicity didn’t, however, take away from the happy family feeling this house had to it. With three generations and covered in his artwork it felt a warm and loving place.

After spending an amazing afternoon with Nesanithi he told me of this high level ground where you could get a great view of the new village. We went up there with his best friend that lived in one of the neighbouring houses. The view was great. The sun was setting and there were heavy rain clouds towards the horizon looking out to sea. The golden red sunset and dark blue clouds lit the roofs of the buildings making for a great photograph.

As we were at the top of this mound I heard a ‘honk honk’ clown-style hooter. Up rolled a Sri Lankan on a bike with a grubby glass box on the back. It looked like a fish tank and it was full of doughnuts! Not something I’d usually eat, but Nesanithi ran down the hill to buy me one (not for himself) screaming it was tea time. I was so touched knowing that 20rps ws probely quite a bit for him.

This is just one of the many great experiences I’ve had with the Sri Lankans.

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