Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 18: An aching back and an averted disaster!

Today was work day four and everyone is starting to feel it. For the first time in my three trips over here I had to see a masseuse to work the kinks out of my back, so yesterday I didn't get a chance to write before dinner. Work is going steadily and today was an especially long day. At the monastery we turned in extra hours cementing the residence floor, which we will finish tomorrow. It took a large group of workers and volunteers, and even the head monk grabbed a pair of gloves (but remained barefoot and in his robes) and helped us pour concrete! At the school we finished plastering the walls, and tomorrow we will start cementing the sidewalks and finishing the floors. The last two days have been tough, but our bodies are adjusting nicely. Or as nicely as can be.

We did, however, have one scary event yesterday. While working at the school in the afternoon we heard howling that sounded like either a large bird, or a monkey, or possibly a person (you never can tell sometimes). We joked about what it could be, then kept working. The howling continued. We decided it might be someone celebrating Sri Lankan New Years, we had a laugh, then kept working. My sister noticed that we hadn't seen our mother in a while. We listened again. Could that be her?! A neighbour next to the school started calling to us. Just then one of our local workers came running from behind the school and immediately we knew something was wrong. Kal and Suresh (workers who have been with us for years) took off towards the trouble, followed by everyone else working at the school. We reached the outhouse to find my mother, Hilary, locked in! She had been on her hands and knees calling under a hole in the door for help for 5 minutes! Someone kicked in the door and she was saved from a rather uncomfortable disaster! We laughed for the rest of the day over it, imitating her 'distress' call, but we were also pretty touched by how quickly the locals sprang into action, and how genuinely concerned they were.

So things are running somewhat smoothly so far and tomorrow will be another long day before we break for the weekend to participate in a local Sports Day on Saturday and to let our bodies repair from all the heavy lifting on Sunday!


Kristian Bruun
DWC Participant
Sri Lanka, April 2012

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