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Ina Watson: Reaching out beyond barriers of culture and language

Profile by Anne Abayasekara of Ina Watson, who holds a degree in theology from St Andrews University, where she met her husband, Rev Paul Watson. Paul’s period as assistant curate of St Paul’s Church, Kandy, ends this month. The couple and their children will move to Aberdeen.

The name of Ina Watson kept cropping up in conversations with friends in Kandy. “You should meet her,” they told me so when I heard that the Watson family would be leaving the island shortly, after four years during which they made friends and influenced many people, I took the opportunity.

Ina’s husband, Rev. Paul, has served as Asst. Curate of St. Paul’s Church, Kandy, and Ina’s counselling skills have been greatly valued in the community. Both of them have made an impact with their quiet, friendly, disarming manner.

Ina came into the counselling field quite by chance. After she had her first baby she had felt confined to her home in Scotland during the first three months and one evening her husband had taken her to a nearby pub. Noticing a signboard which announced diploma courses in Counsellor Training, on impulse she had walked in and enrolled. It appears that she found her niche.

In Sri Lanka, it was only when the tsunami hit that Ina’s talent for helping grieving or troubled people came into the open. I learned that Ina had gone to the south and to the east and worked with traumatized people, through interpreters, and been a source of comfort and strength to many.

“I did a trauma counselling workshop in Trincomalee in January 2004,” she said, “and later another one with children. The January workshop was very moving as the aftermath of the tsunami was still visible all around us. People who themselves had been traumatized, came forward to offer themselves as volunteer counsellors.

• Full story at the Sunday Times, Kandy.

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