Approaching by bike (2km optional), you will follow a trail through the jungle under the thick green canopy surrounded by birds and butterflies. Near the village, you arrive at scenic paddy fields, where you can learn about the ago-old cultivation method of chena, which dates back 5000 years.
If your visit doesn’t fall on a holiday, you have the opportunity to stop in at the village primary school, prearranged to make it a better experience for you and the kids. Spend some time sharing Sinhalese and English poems and having fun, as well as stationery and other items requested by the teachers. You also have the chance to plant a tree to help with the village’s reforestation efforts.
After that, you will meet a senior farmer who will tell more you about their way of life and introduce you to some friendly villagers who are always ready to greet visitors with a smile. Stop at a traditional mud house to sip a herbal tea while the family demonstrates how to prepare a local-style curry with produce from their fields. The visit finishes with a delicious lunch and some traditional sweets and freshly-cut fruit.
Later in the evening you will be treated to a private cultural dance performance, organised by a local host from the village. We recommend learning a few steps and joining in, it’s a fun way to connect with the people and culture of Sri Lanka, if you don’t mind feeling a little silly!
Your visit to Diyakapilla aims to help the village in several ways:
- bringing economic opportunities and enabling families to generate income by preparing lunch. One visit is enough to provide for a week’s worth of food for a family.
- supporting community development by funding improved sanitation facilities and the local primary school. Computer donations and the revenue generated for the school has helped them to improve their standards and achieve high grades compared to other schools in the area, with many children graduating to high school and 6 eventually selected for university. Your school visit will be prearranged with the teachers to ensure it is helpful and not intrusive.
- preserving Sri Lankan heritage by showcasing villagers’ traditional culture and expertise. The fact that tourists want to learn about this heritage means that traditional farming methods, cuisine and music are more valued and more likely to survive.
- protecting the environment by planting a tree
- promoting increased understanding, respect and tolerance between different cultures, for both the villagers and visitors. Hosting tourists has contributed to the children having a head start in languages and listening to pre-school kids singing for you in Sinhalese and English is always mentioned as a highlight!
- avoiding overtourism by limiting the number of visits to one per day and 10 per month maximum. The village works exclusively with our local partners, in contrast to many other places that host back to back visits daily.