Thursday, January 09, 2014

Sri Lankan Tamil keeps Swiss sledge tradition alive...

When Tamil Kavithas Jeyabalan arrived in Chur in the canton of Graub√ľnden from his native Sri Lanka in 1984, he had never seen snow and didn’t speak a word of German. Now, the talented expat carpenter is using his skills to keep the Swiss sledge tradition alive.

Known as “Kavi” by everyone in the area around his workshop in Peist (Arosa), Jeyabalan is a shining example of what foreigners can do in Switzerland.

When he arrived in the mountain country after fleeing Sri Lanka’s civil war, the then 20-year-old was unaccustomed to all that awaited him.

But over the 30 years since he came to join his brother, taking a job as a carpenter in Arosa, Jeyabalan has learnt to speak the local Schanfigg dialect like a native. “It is extremely important to learn the language of the country you go to live in,” he tells The Local in perfect German, with no hint of an accent.

 He has also built a successful joinery business, employing the carpentry skills he inherited from his father to handcraft traditional Swiss sledges. His so-called ‘Schanfiggerschlitten’, are based on the ‘Arosa’ sledges that his former employer made before going out of business. Full story...

Related posts:
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  2. Sri Lanka and the Tamil genocide...
  3. The Tamils of Switzerland...
  4. Sri Lanka: Tamil man self-immolates in front of Geneva UN office...

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