It is a hot, steamy day in Sri Lanka’s northwestern Mannar District. Mid-day temperatures are reaching 34 degrees Celsius, and the tarred road is practically melting under the sun.
In four months’ time, Sri Lanka will mark the sixth anniversary of the end of its bloody civil conflict. Ever since government armed forces declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 19, 2009, the country has savored peace after a generation of war.
When a stray bullet fired by Taliban militants became lodged in her spine last August, 22-year-old Shakira Bibi gave up all hopes of ever leading a normal life.
People are willing to wait a long time for a few minutes in the hands of Aloysius Patrickeil, a 32-year-old barber who is part-owner of a small shop close to the northern town of Kilinochchi, 320 km from Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.