Sri Lankans are plagued by tens of thousands of cases of mosquito-borne dengue each year, but recent public-health measures have helped dramatically reduce the death rate of this year’s particularly bad outbreak. Public-health teams are inspecting locales where cases have arisen, and careful treatment of dengue patients and public-awareness campaigns have also helped combat this year’s epidemic.
The process of making toddy, an alcoholic beverage, begins at the top of a coconut tree, where a toddy tapper climbs to gather the sap. Toddy tappers face danger as they work, walking tightropes between trees. That danger is just one reason why fewer people than ever before are going into the work.
Overcoming objections from her family, Dulanjali Subasinghe trained for and entered bodybuilding contests – dealing “an effective blow to certain meaningless traditions,” as one trainer put it. Now she is teaching others to weight lift and hopes to compete internationally and encourage other women in Sri Lanka to compete.