Laila bargaining for sapphires in Galle, Sri Lanka, Feb. 8, 2008. European colonist established much of the countries prolific plantations, including tea, rubber, sugar, coffee, cinnamon and various spices. These remain major exports today, in addition to apparel, gems and jewelry. But the nation is mostly financed by foreign assistance, commercial borrowing and the incomes of an enormous expatriate workforce. There are 1.5 million Sri Lankan citizens working abroad. Many are women employed as housemaids. Expatriate earnings in 2007 were estimated at around $2.6 billon, second only to earnings from apparel exports. In many ways, Sri Lankan expatriates are economic heroes back home.