Monday, 17 February 2014

Our First week back in Sri Lanka

Don and I arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday February 2nd and since then have been busy catching up on things.

We were really excited to meet the new baby in the village.  She is the daughter of the fisherman, Udaya, our man on the ground who does everything for us.  Born on November 29th, she is named Menushi Della and is adorable.  She has been showered with gifts and clothes donated by my friends and colleagues in New York.
Della with Menushi Della 
Our next priority was to visit both the nursery school and the school.  There is a new intake of children at the nursery school.  Needless to say they were absolutely terrified of us. Great white monsters drained of colour!   Most of the kids we knew there have moved on to “big school” – which is our Village School.   When we got to the Village school, the children were proudly rehearsing for the National Day Parade. Sri Lanka became 66 on February 4th – just a few days younger than me!  Our children are so proud and looked wonderful in the uniforms which our friend Lawrence had bought them after his visit 3 years ago.  We had not appreciated until then that the children from our school had to march along with no musical instruments and no uniforms.  That has been put right!   The instruments had been bought 5 years ago in memory of Don’s brother Declan.

On Wednesday, work started in earnest.  We fixed dates for the rest of our visit with the Principal at the School.  The Sarath de Mel Memorial Day will be on Tuesday 18th – that is when we give out the prizes, shoes and uniforms and Fun Day will be during our last week here.  We checked the quality of the food that is being delivered to the school.  Inflation has been rampant and costs have increased so we went through the list of things the Principal needs more help with.

On Thursday we were joined by Kiran and Sanjeev.  They have been back-packing their way around the world since last July.  Kiran works with my brother Saul and had heard about our project and so, they are here between Thailand and India.  It is only by chance that they turned up here while we are here and we were able to introduce them to our nursery school, the school and of course, the villagers.  We discovered that Kiran has TEFL training and so we knew we had to put her to work.

On Friday, Kiran and Sanjeev took classes at school and the new English teacher we have employed to come once a week was there at the end of the morning also.  We are so determined to give the kids the start they need.  Learning English is so empowering.  

On Friday afternoon, we went to visit one of the most amazing women we know.  Doreen is the mother of two of the children we support, Wesley and Smith.  She is the testimony to life changing in a second.  After we left last year she was run down by two racing tuk-tuks.  She was so badly injured that she had her leg amputated.  It has still not healed but she smiled as much as ever and was so pleased to see us.  Without FODAD support she would be begging on the streets.
Learning English at last! 
Saturday was hard work; well for some of the pupils and Kiran and Sanjeev as they painted all the desks and chairs at the school.  They are seriously smart and brightly coloured.  The children will be really surprised when they turn up at school on Monday!
Painting the desks
More to follow.

Lunch time 

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