sanitation and snippets

Posted Thursday March 12, 2015 by Hazel Durbridge

Yesterday, while I was having a shower and noticing that the water was not draining away very quickly a frog climbed out the drain. I am glad it was not a snake as there are lots of poisonous snakes in Sri Lanka I would not recognise.

On the way to the beach on Sunday I got this puncture and the guy guarding Oxfam Australia and his mate called out to me, then went to find friend of friend to repair it and as bike places are closed on Sunday I really appreciated their help. He charged me 25p so I gave him 50p. I hope that doesn’t class me as profligate, I was just so grateful.

I have just got side-tracked by dinner. I get food from the landlady’s daughter which lasts me two days and costs £1.25. Quite a lot of the time I don’t know what I am eating and she isn’t around to translate like Mrs Slap Slap in Colombo. I’ve eaten something the shape and thickness of a stick of celery except the skin is inedible, but the inside tastes a bit like marrow. I was thinking how do Sri Lankans eat it, but then I remembered they eat with their fingers, they don’t use knives and forks. I’ve also got the grass dish which looks like chopped up grass and it’s not chives – it tastes like a bitter spinach with something yellow in it that I seem to remember comes from coconut. It’s OK. I’m totally used to it now. I just throw away half the rice. It was nice to eat chips and lasagne and fish burger in Arugam Bay, but much much more expensive – £3.50 for one meal!

You said something interesting to me today along the lines of, ‘you’ve done it before therefore you should know what it’s like’. I know that sounds sensible, but actually it’s not the same although there might be similarities and the critical thing is I don’t have the attitude where I am convinced the worst will happen because this aspect was bad before. I might think about the worst happening, but thankfully I am one of the idiots that always think this possibly could be the best thing ever.

It’s a bit like relationships. Just because I’ve been in one doesn’t mean I know what the next one will be like. I might get smitten with angst under my mosquito net sometimes, but most of the time I travel hopefully.


The Batticaloa Water Board provides piped water from the tank at Unaichai. They received a loan from the Asian Development Bank to set up the system and ongoing financial support from UNICEF. At the moment their costs are met 25% from customer revenue and 75% from funding. Many local people do not have the money to pay for local connection as it currently costs £17,000 Rs if you live in an urban area and 24,000Rs if you live in a municipal area. Getting piped water into isolated areas, even if funding was available, remains a challenge.

Rural families who live by the Unaichai tank are frustrated that they can not access water that is being piped away from them. Families living near the water purification tank at Varunathevu are frustrated because they have no water either. Meanwhile in Batticaloa town people are using purified water to flush toilets and water their gardens.

Development Plan Focus

The issue of water can only be solved by looking at the bigger picture. However, getting water in to rural schools must be a priority.

Other priorities identified by the Planning Department

  • Water & Sanitation
  1. Construction of sanitation facilities because 48.4 % of household are struggling to access the improved sanitation facilities within premises.
  2. Establish water sources because 48.3 % of household are struggling to access improved water source within 250m travelling distance

Batticaloa District Development Plan DRAFT 2013

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