The latest tidbits

Friends and Food

My friend Firasa from work and her beautiful daughter Aleena came over for lunch and a swim on New Year’s Eve.

Firasa and I at the pool. My hair's a little flippy *sigh*

Firasa and I at the pool. My hair’s a little flippy *sigh*

Aleena receiving her Kinder Surprise

Aleena receiving her Kinder Surprise

My job was the chocolate cake (Aleena’s favourite) which I bought and Firasa said she would bring lunch.  What a feast!

It was my first time ever tasting kidu, a Sri Lankan Muslim delicacy that was just delish.  Kidu is made up of a beef curry, kaliya – an ash plantain & brinjal (eggplant) dish, parippu (dal made with coconut), onion & date achaar (a lovely combination of sweet & sour) and finally a mango chutney with stone chunks for added flavour.

The dish is traditionally put in the centre of the ground and people gather round and help themselves (with their right hand) … no plates or cutlery.  Last Saturday however, we sat around a table and served ourselves on plates and ate with cutlery … although I have been eating with my right hand of late.

What a treat to have kidu – thanks Firasa!

Assembled kidu with (clockwise) beef curry, kaliya, parippu, onion & date achaar, potato curry and mango chutney.

Assembled kidu with (clockwise) beef curry, kaliya, parippu, onion & date achaar, potato curry and mango chutney.

And finally, the smart and intelligent Aleena loving the pool, but really can’t wait to be able to swim so she could join the bigger kids in the deep pool.  The poor mite was looking longingly over at them, wishing herself there.  She’ll be there soon I have no doubt!

Aleena, age 3 getting the hang of swimming.

Aleena, age 3 years 4 months getting the hang of swimming.


About 1.5 hours west of Polonnaruwa on the road to Colombo last Friday, we stopped off for breakfast at this ‘food sales centre’ run by the Department of Agriculture.  It’s a program that employs women to locally source and grow organic produce, and then use this produce to make tasty meals for the general public.

Open from early morning to night, the women are rotated every three hours throughout the day, providing a great variety of foods but no guarantee what will be served.  On our way there earlier in the week, Rukman had the foresight to ask if the lady serving hoppers would be there at about 9am on Friday morning … and she was.  We lucked out!

As you can see from the photo, it was a busy place early in the morning and a line-up for us to order our hoppers .. she clearly has a following.

My favourite kind of hopper is an egg hopper with a little pepper.  While the hopper is cooking, the egg is cracked into the base, cover put on the pot and the egg is basically steamed.  No egg hoppers at this place though, they are 100% vegan (no eggs or dairy).


I thought this a brilliant idea … a drive-through motorbike license renewal office.  Have your paperwork in order plus your payment at the ready, and it takes all of 5 minutes to process the renewal application and be on your way with your renewed license.

Some people were coming through in three-wheelers even.  Strangely no one on motorbikes, maybe they left it too late to renew their license??

Drive-though motorbike license renewal - it took all of 5 mins for the renewal to be processed. Canada take note!

Drive-though motorbike license renewal – Canada take note!

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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