As expected the events during last week, when the announcement came that the conflict in the north had ended, was indeed extraordinary. The week started with reports from Colombo that a group of about a thousand protestors had marched on the British High Commission building and hurled objects and burned a effigy of David Milliband. I know a woman working there and she said no one was injured but the streets nearby were mayhem with revellers. We then started receiving security text messages and emails from vso advising that the president was to declare a national holiday during the week and we should get stocks in and stay home for the day. As this was going on reports were coming out that Prabhakaran was dead and the sound of firecrackers were going off everywhere. It sounded like the blitz. Then convoys of men in trucks and on motorbikes went past the end of my road waving flags and cheering. This went on till the late hours. I texted several other volunteers in different parts of the country and the same seemed to be happening more or less everywhere.
The next day I went to work as normal, aware of some possible anti-Uk feeling but didn't really experience anything. The president made a televised speech in the morning which we all watched. I didn't understand as it was in sinhala but the jist of it was he said he had a duty to all Sri Lankans and announced a public holiday the next day, which was met with a round of applause. As he was speaking the weather completely changed. It hadn't rained here for weeks but we had several thunderstorms that day. During one such storm, the cat that bit me proceeded to have her kittens on top of the mozzie netting at the back of my house, which I could clearly see and HEAR. Thankfully she took them off to somewhere safer and she has been back in the last few days with signs that she is feeding them.
The next day I spent my day of 'confinement' at home. It is amazing how many reasons you can come up with to leave the house when you can't! I could hear firecrackers going off throughout the day and a big party kicked off up the road in the afternoon with music (and dancing apparently). I was due to go to a meeting in Kandy the next day but we postponed this and I went to work instead. I asked a colleague how her day yesterday was and she replied 'ok'. It was clear this was all I was getting and today was another day.
The following Monday I went to Colombo for the week, to attend a workshop and a couple of meetings, including my two month review (where did that time go?) and to celebrate Eve's birthday on the saturday. I had a good week and 'burnt the candle at both ends', as my mother would say and was quite pleased to return to my little house the following sunday for some down time. I was met by a warm welcome from my neighbours who waved enthusiastically when they saw me and for the first time I did start to feel as though I was returning home. Even the cats (biting cat has an identical twin) appeared very soon after my return to say hello.