Normally, we take the 100 girls from the orphanage out for the day on each visit to Sri Lanka. But as the last one was in July, this time the girls decided they wanted to hold their very first sports meet.
As soon as we walked into the small area in front of the orphanage we could see just how much effort they had gone to with each house creating a different themed base decorated by the girls themselves. A small running track had been marked out and we were shown to our seats, thankfully under a canopy shielding us from the strong sun. There were nine events in all (including the lime and spoon and balloon burst races and amazingly the bun eating contest!) followed by races for the staff and visitors and a fancy dress competition.
The girls’ band kicked the event off including a synchronised dance display which was truly impressive. We fund the bandmaster and it’s clear just how dedicated he is when we witnessed their performances.
As the programme of events progressed, the hotter it got but the girls’ enthusiasm and cheering showed no sign of diminishing. We had to judge the best decorated house which was an unenvious task as all the girls had surpassed themselves so it was difficult to choose a winner but at least we ensured that the others were joint runners up.
The fancy dress completion was also a real eye opener with a stellar performance buy the “fortune teller” but less convincing portrayals of “Colonel Qaddafi” and “The English Queen” but it was amazing fun and again, the girls had worked so hard.
This was the first sports day for the girls and we were humbled by being invited as guests of honour to a very special event. We pay every month towards non-curriculum classes such as art, dress-making and needlework and these skills were very much on display throughout the day.
The day was so enjoyable and we left on a high after presenting all the prize winners with medals and cups because you just felt that each and every girl, no matter their circumstances, we’re enjoying spending time supporting each other – their only family, and being with us – their extended family.
We sincerely hope that there will be another sports meet next year and look forward to supporting that event and all the girls in the future.
Finally, three of the old girls who we had sponsored to do some further education came back to join in the events and it was great to hear that two had moved on and now work in a hospital in Colombo and another is teaching and has got married.
PS – Della came a dignified 2= in the female visitors race; Don triumphed in the men’s race against Steve and Gav despite crashing to the ground and receiving first aid for scratches after trying to be just a little too competitive!