“We are very happy to be back on our own land, I met my husband in Intherapuram Village and my daughter and granddaughter were born here.” Nagaratnam, age 77, Sri Lanka.
Nagaratnam helps support the family by weaving beautiful baskets out of palmyra leaves to sell at market.
Since returning, the family have been slowly rebuilding their lives. Kalavathany works nearby at a food packing factory in Muhamali Town. Meanwhile, Nagaratnam has started a small basket business, crafting beautiful baskets out of palmyra leaves to sell. They also grow their own beans and okra in the garden beside their house.
Four generations of women live together in the household. Kavi is Nagaratnam's great granddaughter.
Nagaratnam is well known and respected in the village, visitors gravitate to her for news or to ask for directions if lost. There are signs that normality is returning, children play cricket between the houses, neighbours chat in the street. However, there is still work to do. Nagaratnam warns the children not to hit the ball too far—just a few hundred metres from the resettled portion of the village HALO deminers are working to clear the next sector of the Muhamalai minefield. With a sense of pride Nagaratnam can be heard warning visitors: “We’ve survived many years of war, let’s not lose our lives on the minefield.”
But soon this warning will be redundant. HALO’s deminers will clear the remaining section of Intherapuram village allowing a further 130 families to join Nagaratnam in the joyful return home.