FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The North Texas Sri Lankan community is reeling after the news of church and hotel bombings in the country that killed over 200 people and injured over 450 more.
“It is a very bad feeling. It is a very horrible feeling. I don’t know what else to say,” Nimidu Senaratne said.
Senaratne, the owner of Sri Lankan restaurant Spicy Zest in Farmers Branch, talked about the frantic call he got from his mother-in-law Saturday evening when the news broke about the bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.
“She was very upset. She didn’t know what to do, and she was helpless,” Senaratne said. “Some of our friends’ family had already passed. Very sad.”
The majority of Senaratne’s family and friends still live in Sri Lanka.
“It’s very sad being here, and I don’t know what to do… we already contacted the people we can help somehow… so we’re on to that,” he said.
Senaratne moved to the U.S. about 10 years ago to further his education. He later opened Spicy Zest.
Over the years, he says his customers have become like family.
“My regular customers… they came over in the morning to ask me if I’m doing okay, if my family is doing okay, if my Sri Lankan people are doing okay,” he said.
He says his heart is broken, but Sri Lankans are strong and will help each other.
“As Sri Lankans, we are there to help anybody who has suffered, injured, passed… we are there to help them,” Senaratne said.
The North Texas community from Sri Lanka says about 8,000 Sri Lankan live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and that they are working to plan a group blessing for the victims and their families.