On Saturday evening, my wife and I heard the horrible news that a series of bombings had killed hundreds of people in Sri Lanka, her home country.
Three churches were bombed during Easter Sunday services, and three hotels were bombed, too, all within 20 minutes of each other in different cities. As of this writing, at least 359 people have died in the attacks.
All of my wife Taniya’s family lives in Sri Lanka. None of them were directly affected by the attacks, but one of her good friends, who came to study in America, lost his aunt and uncle, killed in one of the church bombings.
Another of Taniya’s friends, Christine, often attends St. Sebastian’s Catholic Church in the city of Negombo. She and her husband Iranga planned to attend its Easter Sunday service, but their son Aden was keen to see the blessing of the fire at the Easter vigil mass on Holy Saturday, so they went a day early. The next morning, a suicide bomber detonated a backpack full of explosives in the church, killing more than 100 people.
Since then, Taniya has received many messages from friends offering their condolences and inquiring about her family. This has really warmed her heart. She thanks everyone who has reached out to her during this trying time.
It’s painful to see a country of such kind and generous souls in mourning. I had the pleasure to visit Sri Lanka for the first time last fall, when my wife and I spent three weeks visiting her relatives and exploring the island. Her mother, Nirmalene, treated me like I was her own son (and still does!). Her aunts, uncles and cousins bent over backwards to accommodate our every need.
We visited several friends of the family, and each one insisted on feeding us (Editor’s note: Never turn down a chance to eat Sri Lankan food). The country is full of caring, thoughtful people. And now we must keep them in our hearts in their time of need.
- Andy Hallman is news editor of The Fairfield Ledger. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.