Birthdays should be special wherever you are. But to be away in a place like Sri Lanka makes a birthday even more special for anyone. So waking up to a glorious morning in fine surroundings was a nice way to start the day; to then find balloons adorning the table, a personalised birthday cake, and singing waiters was even better. But on Wednesday, it really dawned on me just how true it is that it’s the simplest things which are the most touching. When you get on a bus full of orphaned girls who burst into their rendition of Happy Birthday as you board the coach, it kind of leaves a lump in your throat. And especially as I was made to feel like guest of honour on what was, after all, their special day – only the second time outside of the orphanage walls since we last took them out in February.
The girls’ obvious enjoyment and excitement more than makes up for the 4 hour journey on a clapped out, hot and uncomfortable bus as they sang along to their favourite songs – the “Bollywood bus”, if you like!
After lunch on the beach, the girls headed down to the sea and spent a carefree couple of hours just splashing around as the waves crashed about them. Unfortunately, as the picture shows below, Della and two of the girls were somewhat taken by surprise as a huge wave crashed over their heads – much to the amusement of all the girls. It was great to see them all so happy again. Next up was a surprise birthday party for me where I was presented with a birthday cake, huge card and gifts. There was dancing – the girls were very good, their guests less so! – singing and games. The amount of effort that the girls had obviously gone to was overwhelming but I can’t think of a more rewarding way to spend a birthday.
We’ll be visiting the orphanage again next week to hear the girls play in their band and see how far they’ve come in the last 6 months. FODAD pays for a music teacher and other vocational studies as well as their only trips out of the orphanage – all thanks to your donations.