Maharagama Cancer Hospital and Theldeniya orphanage
We had a very satisfying experience in visiting Preethipura orphanage. We have allocated more money for charity and decided to visit a few other charities to find how we can help. We were told about a charitable organization run by a Buddhist priest who lives near the Cancer
hospital. We decided to make a visit and get first hand information about this facility.
Maharagama Cancer Hospital is the only hospital that treats cancer patients in the country. All cancer patients and their visitors have to travel to Maharagama for any kind of cancer related treatment . There are out patients who are not warded, but have to visit the hospital for treatment on a regular basis. Then there are relatives and friends of patients who come to visit the patients who are already warded in the hospital. Most of these people travel long distances taking several hours using public transport. Hospital does not provide accommodation for them.
Cancer Care Welfare - Sri Lanka Society is an organization that has been formed to help such patients. We heard about it in Australia and wanted to pay visit to see how we can help this charity. On January 3, we hired a vehicle and travelled to Maharagama. We had three people (Mala, Helen and I ) in our group. The place is well known among the people who live in the area and we had no difficulty in finding the place. There is a small office and a reception attached to the building and we explained the reason for our visit. The person at the reception asked us to wait and finally we managed to meet the Administrative director, Ven. Weganthale Seewalee Thero. He explained to us the history, the purpose and the objectives of the organization.
This organization was initially formed in 1982 under the patronage and guidance of some prominent Buddhist priests. They realized the need for a place to provide accommodation to out patients and their relatives when they visit the hospital. Presently there are two basic sleeping facilities in the complex, one for females and one for males. Any one who visits the hospital can get free accommodation. In addition , they provide all three meals free. There is a kitchen with basic facilities. Now they are in the process of upgrading the kitchen to cater to the ever increasing demand for food. They are not getting any funding from the government, but depending on the donations from people like us.
They were lucky in getting the adjoining block of land as a gift from the owner. They are planning to build a meditation centre attached to the complex. I was not sure how a meditation centre can help cancer patients. The priest explained the logic behind it. We know there is no cure for many forms of cancer. Cancer patients lose the battle for survival both physically and mentally when the drugs do not help them. If you can keep your mind firm and calm, you can use meditation to cure certain types of cancer. You mind can win over your body. I was not fully convinced , but I know that
in some cases, the mind can be very powerful.
We made a donation of $200.00 towards the rebuilding of the kitchen. We took some photographs and the priest gave us some pirith nools to be tied around your arm. The priest took us to show the kitchen and the two sleeping facilities. We talked to a few patients before leaving the Cancer care facility.
We left the place and drove to our next destination which is Magilin's house. Magilin was a kind of helper to our household when we were in Sri Lanka. She used to look after our children, specially Sumali who was very young. She is now fairly old and has no regular income. Mala sends her money once a year for the new year. We decided to pay a visit to her. When we went there, she has prepared boiled Jack fruit with coconut scrape. For us it was a delicacy. We ate that and finally gave her some money before leaving for Colombo.