• Tara B. Vasi

Day 2 Sri Lanka (52): Coffee Talk, Lunch, Muddy Puppy, Yoga, the Stray Dog Project 🐾

Vera is scheduled this morning to go to the kindergarten class as a part of her volunteer program. I sleep in and unpack. The weather is hot and the sky is full of dark, thick, gray clouds.

I meet Chamara’s mom, dad, and cousin who help out around the villa. Chamara’s aunt makes me a pot of instant coffee to enjoy in the dining area. Vera comes back from the kindergarten class and Chamara’s cousin joins us for tea. She tells us about how Sri Lanka was bombed on April 21st 2019 by Muslims. They dropped four bombs on the capital city of Colombo and over 400 people died. THAT WAS JUST OVER SEVEN MONTHS AGO! Seriously, had I googled Sri Lanka even just once I probably would have known that. Would I still have come? I am visiting this country completely blind. I barely knew where it was located on a map a few weeks ago.

Apparently no one wanted to come to Sri Lanka after the bombings (don’t blame them) and that is why I didnt have to pay for a visa.

She said Sri Lanka got a new president, but they weren’t going to retaliate in any way.

She showed us a cinnamon tree that grew on the property. Cinnamon is one of Sri Lankas biggest exports. They also export a lot of different spices and teas.

We sat and chatted for an hour or so. It started to rain pretty heavy and they served us lunch. I asked for the family to join us and to please think of us as family instead of guests, but they still served us and ate downstairs. Lunch was rice and calamari rings in sauce. Chamara eats with his right hand and head lowered close to the plate. Vera and I can’t help but stare a little.

I tell Vera to “look hungry” and she puts her hand on her belly. 😃

After lunch Chamara and I have a business meeting in his office. I want to discuss how we can assist each other in making our dreams come true. The meeting goes very well!

We leave the villa to run errands. We take the big bus and fill it with gas and come back. Then we take the van into town. We stop quickly at the beach but it starts down pouring again do we run back to the van.

Chamara has to run to a store so I find a cafe and order a cappuccino and a fruit plate while I wait for him. The fruit plate is a small piece fruit salad mixed with raw sugar and lime juice. I mean, it was absolutely delicious, but good to know for next time that they mix their fruit with sugar.

We head back to the villa. Along the way we are stopped in traffic and I see the mud moving in the middle of the street. I notice a tiny puppy and I lose my mind with fear that the sweet angel is scared and alone and might get hit by a car! Chamara pulls over. I ask if we can please take him home and take care of him. Chamara told me I was bad for business and picks up the puppy and puts him on the floor in the back of the van.

The puppy is shaking and crying. He smells absolutely awful. He is covered in mud and fleas. It looks like he has a skin infection on his back. We get back to the villa and carefully give him a bath in the sink. Chamara’s mother helps get some of the mud off of him, dry him off, and put medicine on his infected skin. I hold the puppy in a towel on my lap. He starts to calm down but is still extremely scared and confused. I would say he is only a few weeks old. Its been raining in Sri Lanka for the last few weeks, so I can only assume the puppy has had a pretty cold and lonely life so far.

Chamara runs out and gets flea power and we douse him and watch as the fleas die and fall off his body. The puppy falls asleep wrapped in the towel and I transfer him to a cardboard box.

I teach Vera yoga for the next hour and a half before dinner. Because of the language barrier, it works best for me to do the poses with her as I guide her along. She has only done yoga a few times before, and does an amazing job. Later she tells me she could barely understand anything I was saying. Haha.

We keep Puppy Man in a box while we eat dinner. Rice noodles. Vegetable soup. Chicken.

He is too young to put with the other six puppies, so Chamara and I block off an area of the dining room for him to spend the night. I start to get ready for bed, but hear the puppy cry out and I feel so bad leaving him alone, so I go up to meet him and let him fall asleep in my lap while I FaceTime with my mother and sister.

We don’t have any food for him and I worry he won’t make it through the night. I promise to take care of him while I am in Sri Lanka. When I leave?? I don’t know. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. I tell Chamara the puppy is going to be GREAT for business.

I always knew loving and saving dogs was important to me, but now I see how possible and necessary it is in Sri Lanka. Chamara says if we can raise some money to buy a small piece of land, we can save so many more stray dogs. Well, it looks like I found my next passion project. The Stray Dog Project.

Teach yoga, save dogs, and live on an island. Dreams can come true, folks. And I can “Save the elephants” while I’m at it.



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