Sunday, 4 July 2010


This old guy lives under the bridge at Tangalle. He shares his home with hairless street dogs, mangy cats, rats, flies and kabaragoya (water monitor). His food comes from scavenging left-overs from the bins outside close-by restaurants. It's how many of the street dogs, cats and cows manage to survive. I say "old" but he's probably in his thirties or forties. Sometimes I'll pass him on the road and say hello to him but he just looks through me with a kind of expressionless incomprehension. It can't be the English word that confuses him because everyone says "hello" around here. I guess it's just life.

There's only one other derelict that I've spotted - a mumbling rake-thin beggar woman who often targets me. She utters low curses and a laugh when I pass her, and giving her some money once had the same response. I later heard that she had two sons and she watched as her older son rescued the younger one when the first wave of the Tsunami came. And she watched as the second wave took them away. I think she has an excuse for her madness.
Apparently there were a lot more more-disturbed folk in Tangalle but they were rounded up and taken to the asylum near Galle. I wondered if the guy or woman could do with some care and treatment but I'm not sure if seeking medical assistance here would be doing them any favours.

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