Friday, October 22, 2010

Tangalle, Sri Lanka: Day 4

This morning, we had another labor intensive morning. We switched it up a bit by having teams go to different locations. Today our group went to the Sri Lankan family’s home to make cement from scratch, literally. We sifted the dirt before we mixed it with cement and water. We then used the cement to speckle the walls. The technique looks really easy…but don’t let that fool you.

During the afternoon, our mission was to deliver some of our donations to 2 schools and a soccer league. The first school was an all-boys school where we dropped off 2 duffel bags of school supplies. The teachers didn’t miss the opportunity to also mention that they also needed computer equipment and that many of the children needed black shoes for school. It’s tough sometimes when you realize that there are so many other things that can be done….

The second school made the other schools look like private schools. It was a small Muslim school of just over 100 students. When we opened the duffel bags, we took out the school supplies but what received the most reaction from the students were the skipping ropes and balls. Immediately, they ran outside with them to test them out. I was a little taken by surprise when I saw the yellow smiley face beach ball appear in their court yard. You see, this was one of the toys my 3 and half year old son decided to part with for the kids in Sri Lanka. Before the trip, I wasn’t sure if it was too cheap to pack as it probably only cost me less than $1 and I didn’t want to insult the children by giving them this cheap toy. All those concerns evaporated when I saw those kids play with that ball. Immediately, I had to join them and play what looked like a their version of beach volleyball. It felt so nice to connect with these boys and see how they appreciated this blow up ball knowing that they will get miles out of it. It was certainly a bitter sweet moment for me. And of course, I got a little (maybe a lot) chocked up when I shared my story with my colleagues during dinner time.

Our last stop of the day was at the soccer/cricket field where we dropped off all our cleats, soccer balls and a few other sporting equipment. Some of the kids followed us from the Muslim school and played a bit of soccer with us. It was pretty impressing to see them maneuver the ball with their bare feet.

I think it’s fair to say that the whole group feels pretty blessed to be part of this experience and greeted by such friendly people in Sri Lanka. This is certainly a experience I that will remain with me for a lifetime.

DWC Participant
Sri Lanka 2010

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