Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 21st: The first day and the first interview.

Today was the first day in Sri Lanka….with sleep. We got to sleep in a bed for the first time in three days, it was amazing! Minus the dogs howling at 4 in the morning, I was ready for action and was to excited to sleep. I read then we got up just before 7 and went to breakfast. I tried watermelon jelly and it was delicious, it puts strawberry jam to shame.

We went to the job sight around 8 am and got to work right away. I was filming for the majority of the morning but there was lots to capture. We started where we left off digging the dirt to the right level, then we started to make cement. It was quite the process starting the cement mixture….they tried, and tried, and tried some more…finally they convinced Tim to give it a shot…after a lot of sweat he got it to, everyone cheered it was an awesome moment that I caught on camera. I got to meet the boy who is coming back to Kamloops "Narasha", I asked him if he was excited, about his family, how old he was, he was a little unsure about his English at first but after a few laughs we had a good chat. It was really fun interacting with him. I get to go to his school tomorrow to see everything and interview his principle…all the young girls are coming with me, we're very excited.

After lunch Tim and I walked back to Palm Paradise, I was so engulfed by the surroundings I almost walked right past it. After scrubbing the cement off my legs, Tim and I met Anil and he took us to the Daffodil School in Tangelle. The Daffodil School is for low income kids to learn conversational English and Computer Skills. I went there to interview Bundela, the school coordinator and instructor. The classroom was outside under a tin roof. There were about 20 students, 2 boys the rest girls…at first they were really shy then they warmed up to us. Bundela taught his class, I filmed as it went, two of the girls read in front of the class, I could not believe how well they spoke English, it melted my heart. I interviewed 3 of the students, they were so nervous, but they were amazing. They talked about there love for Kamloops and Developing World Connections, how they wanted to be Doctors, Engineers, and Astronomers. I was so touched by how much they appreciated the opportunity to go to this school it made me feel so lucky to have the endless opportunities in Canada. They wrote English so neatly in there notebooks, I showed them how messy my notebook was, we had a good laugh.

I interviewed Bundela about how important Kamloops, Trip Canada, Developing World Connections' support is, and he said its essential for these children. He told me learning conversational English and computer skills sets young children up for success, and these ones would not have the opportunity if it weren't for our funding. I managed to hold the tears in until after I left the school but they truly touched my heart. They were beautiful, long hair, big white smiles, but how happy they were with the little they have made me want to stay with them forever. We ended it with a great group photo. (see right side bar: Sri Lanka: The Daffodil School)

Coming back to Palm Paradise we spent the rest of the afternoon in the waves which was great…the surf is huge and all of us girls had a blast jumping through them. We explored the rocks and watched the crabs scurry. It's been such an amazing day. We're just about to eat dinner so I should probably sign off. Talk to you soon!

Leah Caldow
DWC Participant

Note: Leah is filming the Developing World Connections Volunteer Team's efforts in Tangalle, Sri Lanka and 5th anniversary celebrations planned for January 25, 2010. It will have been over 5 years since the Boxing Day Tsunami struck the coast of Sri Lanka and left devastated communities, and 5 years since volunteers from across Canada have been coming to help rebuild homes, villages, schools and communities. Rebuilding infrastructure does not mean just building walls and doors and windows but builds friendships and forms strong relationships the world over. This day will also celebrate the relationship that has been formed between the cities of Kamloops, B.C. and Tangalle, Sri Lanka.

The members of the Tangalle-Kamloops Friendship Committee (on the Tangalle side) are organizing the celebrations. There will be some speeches, traditional dancing, a declaration confirming the continued relationship, an invitational volleyball game between DWC volunteers and the Tangalle committee members, much food, and some poster displays of the contributions made by Canadian volunteers to Tangalle.

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