Stone fence

Mee tree

The population of Meemure is about 400 with roughly 100 families. This is yet another society struggling to maintain their unique culture. Most of the younger generation is migrating to the cities in search of jobs and better lifestyles. As more of them become aware of the opportunities available in the city, they pursue the possibilities of a more comfortable life, at the least. Much of the youth are found working at garment industries or joining the armed forces. As unfortunate as it may be, they do not turn back to the village and often express shame to admit they are from such a remote village.

Nevertheless, the current villagers continue to live their lives in the traditional ways and have absolutely no negative outlook on their way of life. The local village doctor said that they don’t like to go to the city because it is very uncomfortable for them to survive there.

There are several staple crops that the people of Meemure depend on for their livelihood. These include, pepper, cardamom, paddy and ginger. Some of the main products are toddy and jaggery. However, in this case, staple crop hardly means that these items are mass-produced. It is produced in quantities just enough to survive. These crops are mostly sold to bargain-hunters from the nearest city of Hunnasgiriya. On average, they will earn about Rs. 80 per day (a little less than US$1).

Their daily meals consist of rice and curry – more precisely, rice and just one curry. A normal meal may consist of rice with ‘pol sambol’ which is grated coconut mixed with red chillie. And they also seem to be quite fond of tinned fish or tuna. Facilities are less and it may not be fine dining, but there is no lack of hospitality. Roshan Edirisinghe, who recently visited Meemure with a group of young people from Colombo said, “They are very innocent people, very open and the hospitality was great.”

A common sight in Meemure will be a fence made of stone. This is prevalent throughout the village and is used primarily to keep away wild animals. Stones are stacked together to a considerable height to prevent these animals from entering homes and farming land.

Meemure may be the one and only village of its kind one thing is certain. The experience of visiting Meemure is definitely one of kind.


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