It is rare that I would do a non-food related post in this blog, but since it involves my mother, who taught me everything I know about Sri Lankan food (and then some!), I thought it would be appropriate. It is certainly appropriate considering the fact that Sri Lanka is now turning a corner on her recent checkered past, and is headed towards reaching her full potential as the jewel of the Indian Ocean. I am speaking, of course, about the conclusion of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization, which has opened up a path to a brighter future.
The opponents of peace get the lion’s share of media coverage and attention all over the world. Just take a look at the evening news, which tends to accentuate the negative over the positive. Do something bad, and everybody knows your name. Do something good, and nobody seems to take notice.
Well I’m here to set the record straight because I’m very proud of my mother, Chandra Fernando. A Montessori educator of the last 50 years, my mother knows that everything starts with the children. After the tragedy of 9/11, she turned her attention to writing a childrens book, A Little Book Of Peace, her contribution to a very troubled world. “Be the change you want to see,” she would say, quoting Gandhi, and she put her own money where her mouth was, creating an amazing work and donating most of the proceeds, first to the victims of the 2004 tsunami, and later to the war orphans in Sri Lanka.
Knowing nothing about the publishing world, she diligently did her research and used her own funds to get the book printed in Thailand. Selling copies through her Montessori connections, she eventually went through several print runs and by now has sold over 10,000 copies. She even went on to make another children’s book called Peace Begins With Me.
Her most recent venture, however, has been to get the first book, A Little Book of Peace, translated into both Sinhalese and Tamil. She is distributing the 3000 copies that she just printed for free to schools and orphanages in the north and east of Sri Lanka, where scores of children have been displaced and otherwise affected by the war.
Right now, she cannot afford to print more English copies of A Little Book Of Peace, but the second book, Peace Begins With Me is available through the Montessori Services catalog at (www.montessoriservices.com) or 1-800-483-9822. Or you can just email her at email@example.com to find out how to get both books.
My mother has been a tireless supporter and promoter of my own self-published work, Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking (blurb.com), so the least I can do is let you all know about one humble lady’s courageous efforts to promote peace.