Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By William Stark” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1569942884494{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”110178″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.

10/07/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)Kausalya, another victim of the Sri Lanka Easter bombings, sat on a mattress on the floor in the middle of her living room. She lived on the seventh floor of a massive, low-income apartment building. In prepara­tion for my arrival, her back had been propped up against one of the couches. Heavy bandag­es covered both of Kausalya’s legs, making it abundantly clear that she was not very mobile. Despite this lack of mobility, Kausalya still greeted me with a bright smile.

“I was on the opposite side of the back of the church when the blast took place,” Kausalya recalled. “Both of my legs were fractured by the impact of the explosion and my hands were burned.”

Kausalya was knocked unconscious due to her proximity to the blast. Because of this, she was unable to recall the moments that immediate followed. Now, however, Kausalya was fully aware of how severely she was injured and how difficult her road to recovery was going to be.

“They removed eight metal balls from my legs and another five from my stomach,” Kausalya said, gesturing to both injuries. “My hip was also broken. They say it will take one year to fully recover.”

“I am unable to move from this mattress,” Kausalya said. “I can’t even go to the restroom normally or hold my one-year-old daughter.”

So far, Kausalya has undergone three major surgeries on her legs and abdomen. “The recovery is painful,” Kausalya said as she explained how even the transportation to and from the hospital can be a grueling process.

Among the most undignified challeng­es Kausalya has to manage is the use of ostomy bags. She must use two bags each day because of wounds to her abdomen. However, at 2,000 rupees a bag (approxi­mately $11.30 USD), this represents another significant financial burden for Kausalya and her family.

“They say that they are trying to use only one bag a day to save money,” my NCEASL companion mentioned at the conclusion of our meeting with Kausalya. “The doctors say she must use these bags for the next six months.”

As I returned to the vehicle, I wondered about the hundreds of other survivors facing similar long-term medical challenges. For many, the recovery will likely be as chal­lenging as the recovery faced by Kausalya.

St. Sebastian’s Graveyard

Unlike St. Anthony’s Shrine, I could still tell St. Sebastian’s Church had been the site of tragic events.

Walking around the church building, I was informed that it was closed for renova­tions. Workers were busy removing shattered windows and damaged pews, evidence of the bombing that were soon to be replaced. After surveying the church, I traveled to a nearby plot of land where things that cannot be replaced were laid to rest.

“The plot was donated by a local man because there was no room in nearby grave­yards,” a local pastor explained as we pulled into an empty lot. There, 40 graves marked by simple white crosses with num­bers represented the final resting place of the Christians killed in the bombing of St. Sebastian’s Church.

“It is really sad for the local community,” the pastor continued. “There are some hous­es that are now abandoned because most of the family was killed in the bombing.”

As we walked among the graves, we stopped to read notes left by loved ones. The pastor explained that the community plans to eventually erect a small memorial on the plot to honor the martyrs.

After spending some time in the impromp­tu graveyard, I returned to the vehicle and began the long journey across Sri Lanka to Batticoloa. The eight-hour journey gave me ample time to reflect on the needs of the survivors of the bombings. Physically and emotionally exhausted, I collapsed into bed when I finally arrived in Batticoloa.

Stay tuned for Part 3, coming tomorrow.

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