A lot had happened since
Nihal Fernando's first visit. Roads had been cut. Chena
farmers had torched the land. People had built houses and
boutiques. Then came years of strife. People who lived here
in the borderlands became targets and many abandoned their
homes. Those who stayed, curtailed daylight activities.
At night they hid in the jungle. When the Studio Times team
visited in June 2001 the ceasefire had just been declared.
Emerging from bunkers, people were hesitantly beginning
to live life again. Small huts were being constructed, grasslands
were being cut and people were gathering at the boutique
once more to linger over a chew of betel.