The drive to Jaffna is long and sparse. Carpeted roads splice through abandoned lands, lonely farms, and subdued towns slowly erupting in colour and sound again. You’ll notice a few peckish cows and a lone shrine dotting the countryside, at which point you’ll start finding yourself needing a graze too.
In many parts of Southeast Asia, women are left out of the conversation, eerily absent from public spaces or the streets or commercial venues. In the North, this often isn’t the case, because it’s the women that are left. You’ll see women whizzing around on bicycles, women on the buses, women running shops, and women leading the Ammachchi Centres (or, less catchily, the Empowering Women’s Entrepreneurship Centres). These restaurants are clean, organised and bustling spots with a great menu of vegetarian snack staples, ranging from ghee thosai to banana blossom cutlets to fresh juice. They’re usually adjoining a spice and agri-centre also run by women and women suppliers and farmers.
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