Dhammaloka Hamuduruwo of Ambarawa didn’t confine himself to the temple, preaching dhamma. He tried his best to prevent the people getting into bad habits.
Ambarawa adults did some serious hunting. Some of them had been issued with licensed guns to drive away elephants. Instead, they would illegally hunt for deer, wildboar and clandestinely sell to the men who come on bicycles from town. Some failed farmers became hunters. Some even started illegal timber trafficking to get easy money. Some started growing ganja deeper in the jungle.
Various Government Departments officials came to Ambarawa to inspect this or that project. Silibiris noticed they all spoke the Sudda Language. Even the minor local officials accompanying the visiting Government Officials spoke some English
He was a tireless community leader engaged in social service to uplift the lives of the settlers and the original villagers. He even went out of his way to engage with the Tamil villagers in the surrounding areas and help them equally. He had a good knowledge of Ayurveda medicine. He treated sick Tamil and Sinhala villagers alike. He organized many committees to help villagers with funeral expenses, provide loans to farmers and expand the temple as well as the school. Over the years, Dhammaloka Thera became a prominent personality in the area.
Various Government Departments officials came to Ambarawa to inspect this or that project. Silibiris noticed they all spoke the Sudda Language. Even the minor local officials accompanying the visiting Government Officials spoke some English. Silibiris was confused. What was Dhammaloka hamuduruwo saying about Sinhala being the official language? Why then did these officials from Colombo even spoke to villagers in English requiring the local minor officers to translate back and forth. Silibiris suspected the Colombo officers understood Sinhala well and the local officers didn’t understand English too well.
Silibiris harboured a secret desire to become one of those government officials. He knew, with his poor performance in most subjects that would only be a dream. Perhaps he could learn enough English to speak better than the local officers. Then he would even be one up on his class enemy Danda.
He imagined the villagers coming to him to have urgent telegram messages translated.
Silibiris practised the few words of English he picked up, listening to the local minor officers who came to see his school principal, his father and the Loku hamuduruwo accompanying the Officials and Politicians from Colombo.
He didn’t dare practice his new found language skills with his mates or his family.
He practised those words on the water buffalos, father’s cattle, jungle monkeys and occasional donkey. He thought they looked impressed with his Engris.