Socially Committed and Ecologically Responsible
The setting up and running of The Pepper Cottage is completely done by involving the neighbouring community in Wepathana. The house has been set-up as a community based guesthouse, as tourism is a growing market in Sri Lanka we feel that sharing the profits from this with the local people is no more than normal.
The whole house has been renovated with the help of the village. All small and large renovations, as well as the maintenance in and around the property, is taken care of by contracted people from the village.
Assisted by local neighboring farmers, we manage the land and all the crops growing on it. Sharing a large parts (+60%) of the profits with them, in this way we boost their income and help them sustain in their livelihood so they can support their families even more.
Our food is often prepared by our nextdoor neighbours and whenever we need a tuk-tuk we call one of the young guys from the area who will be at the house in minutes.
By incorporating the local community this much in the operational aspects of the guesthouse, you really have a feeling you are part of the Wepathana village. A small glimpse into the live of the inhabitants we could say 🙂
To reduce the environmental impact of running this guesthouse, we decided to have hot water through solar energy and only to serve water from a good water filter instead of bottled water. Our farming activities are organic and we do not use fertilizer or pesticides. We separate our waste: we bury our organic waste and we bring soda bottles and other leftover waste to a collecting point in Digana for recycling.
Some of the people in the neighbourhood
Nilanthi, our direct neighbour is a great gardener but also a good cook and specialized in preparing Kittul Palm Jaggery sweets and syrup. Her two daughters assist her when needed. Samarathne her husband, works in the nearby Ayurvedic Hospital and can give traditional ayurvedic massages at the Pepper Cottage on request.
Next door is the house of Sandya, who lives their together with her daughter Kumudu and her husband as well as two small sons. Sandya and Kumudu run also two guest rooms and are both very good cooks. They serve authentic rice and curries in their small kitchen / dining.
Rukman, the carpenter, lives with his wife, son and mother in the village of Wepathana. He chairs the village association. His carpentry work is impressive. Most of the woodwork in The Pepper Cottage is done by him. The impressive 210 cm beds are made by him for instance. He sells nice wood carvings in his own small workshop in his house. Please do go have a look!
Seena and his wife are full time farmers. Seena maintains our pepper field and makes sure the estate is in great shape. Next to our land, Seena and his wife grow vegetables.
The local weaving mill (for sarees and table cloths) run by the government, the jeweller, the local women that hand-weave baskets and mats, the family making jams and sweets from nutmeg and the sewing lady stitching trousers and shirts are all within easy reach.