At 92, Margaret Ootschorn is very likely the oldest living member of the Portuguese Burgher community in Batticaloa. Displaced from the Dutch Bar after the 2004 Tsunami, she now lives with her daughter in Thiraaimadu, a new settlement developed especially for the displaced community. She said she still misses her life in the Dutch Bar. We talked about the disappearing language and traditions, and how the younger generation no longer speak the language. Afterwards I walked around the small village, met members of the community who were sitting by the roadside and the beautiful new church that was being built for them. A few months later, she invited me along to celebrate the wedding of her grandniece in the unique Portugese Burgher style, with the special blend of Kaffirinha music, dancing and importantly, wine. The Burgher hospitality is legendary and while Margaret felt that modern Burgher weddings are nothing like in the old days, everyone had a lot of fun.
SEE http://iam.lk/the-matriarch/ for a Portuguese Burgher wedding with kaffrinha music … and what is best of all Margaret Ooutschorn’s, reflections in Tamil.