The second week involved each team completing more work on the homes of Vijay, Predeep and Nilantha. Cementfloors was poured, roofs were constructed and the group's ' interior designers' painted and plastered.
A number of cultural excurisons took place. A small group of volunteers spent the day visiting two local schools with Bandulla and Joanne. The first school welcomed us in joining them with their New Year’s celebration. The students provided a beetle leaf welcoming for each of the volunteers. We experienced the tradition of boiling milk in honour of New Year’s prosperity. We then lit ceremonial oil lamps and enjoyed traditional New Year’s foods which consisted of milk rice, cookies, and onion sambal.
Our visit to the second school which was located in a remote rural area, was highlighted by the children’s vegetable garden. Beautiful vegetables and plants were the main focus of our interaction with the students. Some time was spent dispersing gifts brought by the volunteers.
Our last visit of the day was to Navajivina a rehabilitation clinic where we met with the director of the facility, Kumi. We spent a short time touring the facility, stopping at the gift store, where patients exhibited their creative wares. We dropped off sheets, towels, and various medical supplies (splints, tensors, etc) donated by friends and families of the volunteers.
The last work day on each site. A number of bitter sweet moments shared. The team spent an hour this morning visiting each site to experience the accomplishments of the past two weeks. Photos were taken with each team and the families receiving their homes. A collection of gifts were sorted and prepared to present to members of each family.
Our adventures are coming to a close. The last of the team are enjoying celebration of Poya tonight.
The last of the group will be departing at 4 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
tomorrow, respectively, and yes...I will leave with my entourage, a little reluctantly however.
It has been an extremely rewarding and gratifying trip. I look forward to speaking with you upon my return.