The walauwa hamu

Mrs Welikala remembers her childhood in the ancestral house, her best friends from Jaffna and the importance of the church to her family. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam.


Join the discussion: 6 comments

  • Ratnam Kajendrakumar says:

    Bringing back all those sweet days! Good initiative!

  • Kannan Arunasalam says:

    Mrs. Welikala speaks of her life in the walauwe. She remembers the servants making kavum and kalu-dodol, and the kukkuman who looked after the cows playing a daily role in her childhood. Born Edirisinghe, her family was originally from Baddegama. Her matriarchal grandmother was called wallauwe hamuduruwo by the villagers in deference to the family’s privileged position in the hierarchy of the time. The family grew up as staunch Christians due to the young widowed grandmother’s strong ties with the church. Later Mrs. Welikala took me a little way down the road to show me the “little” church, which her grandfather had built and since been donated to the local diocese. It was a quaint building with tiny chairs for younger worshippers. A qualified accountant, Mrs. Welikala had studied and worked in Colombo, before moving back home to Galle. At her boarding hostel, most of her friends were from Jaffna. Christianity was a common link and through that they began to learn each other’s language. “It was not important from where the hell you came”, she joked. “We used to run on Sundays to see the bride,” she remembered fondly. “Everybody ran, everyone”. “The older villagers still call me Haamu”, she said implying that this was more out of affection to her family rather than a perpetuation of the old system. The young villagers do not call her Haamu nor do they know her. Mrs. Welikala remarked that as a Christian who believes that every human being is equal, she does not expect such respect.

    • jude perera says:

      Dear Mrs welikala. We have some relatives in Galle, Baddegama. The Edirisinghes – they also close to the church, related to Fr. Edirisinghe. Also I recently met Mr Loni de Laneroll. Her mother is Mrs Edith Edirisinghe, are you connected to these people? If so, I can introduce you to the present generation. Jude Perera

  • (@iam_project) (@iam_project) says:

    As we enter the festive season listen to #lka elders celebrating Christmas soon. Mrs Welikala

  • Vinidu says:

    Nice to see you aunty. I am a friend of your daughter Anushani.


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