Monday, 22 July 2013

Observations on my First Visit to Sri Lanka - Mary Fugle

Eight and a half years have passed since I anxiously waited for a message that Della and Don were safe after the Tsunami in Sri Lanka.  I have been delighted to be a small part of FODAD from the start, collecting the U.S. donations before there were options other than cash or personal checks that I could hand off to Della when she made a business trip to New York.

After each trip back to Sri Lanka, I heard all the stories, successes and disappointments from Della, Don, and all the many others who have visited on behalf of
 FODAD.  I felt as if I would immediately recognize Colin, the fisherman who saved Della's life, Udaya, FODAD's "boots on the ground," the Village School Principal, and many of the children as soon as I met them - and I did!  Now, I am here for nearly two weeks, meeting all of the above as well as other special volunteers who work so hard to make FODAD a success and make a difference in people's lives, no matter or big or small.

Last week at the U.N., Malala made a speech on her 16th birthday that echos the FODAD vision - education is the only option to make real changes in peoples lives. As Malala noted, one student, one teacher, one pen, one tablet, one laptop can make a difference.  I would add after these past several days, one sewing machine, one Monk, and one "Dad" can also make all the difference as well.  Most importantly, one FODAD school uniform can make a difference in a child's life.  We met a young boy in the Jungle Nursery School who refused to take off his first uniform and book bag when he went to bed.  Many of my friends' children refused to remove their Superman shirt or Princess dress to go to bed, so just imagine the concept that a school uniform can have Super Powers!!!!!

I knew this would be the journey of a lifetime and it has been. as we've realized this past several days, we are humbled by so many here who are part of the FODAD projects and we all must continue to do whatever we can to ensure Malala's birthday message is fulfilled.
Greetings from the Jungle Nursery! 

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