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20120611_SL1.jpgAre you familiar with a plant called "tamarind"? It has a very sharp sour taste, and is a member of the legume family. Originating from Africa, it is grown throughout South-East Asia, as well as in India and Thailand. In Sri Lanka, it is used as a flavoring in curry, to make juice, and an ingredient in beauty products.   
Vaddakandal village, where Habitat Japan is currently working to complete 100 new core houses, is a famous tamarind growing area. With some trees growing to become over 100 years old, they represent an inheritance, a legacy that is passed from a generation to another. Sadly, due to the civil war they were forced to leave the hometown with these legacies.
20120611_SL2.jpgIn 2009, the civil war that had continued for more than 20 years finally came to an end. The people of the village returned to a greatly changed place, where they finally reunited with the tamarind trees.
"When we returned, our homes were destroyed and our land was overgrown. Even then, the tamarind trees were growing as strongly as ever. We harvest them in May and November every year; they provide us with not only health and nutrition, we are also able to sell them and that supports our post-war lives", says homeowner Ummu Kulthum, while holding a peeled and dried tamarind in her hands. In her garden, children played on a swing hanging from a tamarind tree.
As Vaddakandal village gradually returns to a peaceful life they used to have, tamarind trees stand as silent protectors, their branch pulled down heavy with fruits.
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