“Cricket at the Fort” & “Colombo Street Scene”
From the artist:
This photo was taken at Galle Fort, in Sri Lanka. Here some boys were having a game of cricket in front of the historic lighthouse, while families picnicked around them and stray dogs wandered past. There were many people out enjoying the day, gathering in groups and walking along the fort wall.
Some of these people didn’t have any shoes, and some not enough clothing; a child squatted and went to the toilet in full view, and a little boy followed us till we gave him our food. Poverty was evident in the lives of these people.
Yet watching the people at Galle Fort, we observed large groups of families getting out their lunch parcels and picnicking by the wall, couples courting under umbrellas, children playing games, young men jumping and swimming in the sea and people playing drums and music. As the sun set, the families and friends flocked to the walls to watch the golden sunset over the sea.
To us Westerners these people may not look like they have enough materially, but what they do seem to have is a spirit of family and community which rises above any material worries. These are scenes which one would not see in a Western country – a great sense of family and community amidst poverty. In fact the people of Galle Fort really do have enough – enough of what’s important in life. Could it be that our desires for material possessions and wealth overshadow what really matters? We are the ones who don’t have enough – we don’t have enough freedom from wealth; we are bound by our material possessions and our insatiable desire to have more. Consequently we are missing out on “loving our neighbour” and on building up family and community. Most importantly we are losing our grasp on being thankful and content.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (2 Timothy 6:17).
From the artist:
This image was taken in the busy city of Colombo in Sri Lanka. As we drove by the elephant with the buses zooming past, our driver zigzagged through the traffic and pulled over so I could capture the scene. Stepping into the busy street, full of horns blasting and traffic noise, humidity and pollution, the scene was one which typified the main streets of Colombo.
The image of this street, full of traffic including buses, motorbikes, trishaws and of course the elephant, full of colour and activity, captured a moment of city life in this developing country. The typical tourist may hope to witness this and then marvel that this is still seen in the 21st century.
But should we only look on as spectators or tourists at life in developing countries and fail to see what is truly going on? Maybe we should take a second look and really think about what is before us.
The street is full of traffic, travelling in an unorderly and dangerous fashion. Amongst the traffic pedestrians dart across the road to get to the other side, and some families piled on motorbikes don’t wear helmets. Trishaws zigzag through the traffic, darting in front of trucks and buses. There is a high incidence of accidents and injury on the roads in this country. Most of the surrounding buildings are dilapidated and old, crammed together, and some are half destroyed. Should we ask how governments are supporting their citizens by providing much needed direction and infrastructure?
It’s time to say “enough” to being a spectator, and “enough” to turning a blind eye to the lifestyle of our brothers and sisters in developing countries. It’s time to advocate for the Australian government to support and encourage good governance in poorer countries. Can we ask our leaders to hold governments in poorer countries accountable for the services and facilities they provide their citizens? Can we advocate for Australia to develop a global partnership for development, and support equitable and ethical governance in developing countries? For if it doesn’t start with good governance, how will any advancement in poorer countries be fostered and sustained?
You can see more of Dilshara’s work at www.dilsharahill.com.
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