Saturday we worked a half-day then were guests of honour at a New Years Sports Day event hosted by a local community group. This was a first for us, and it was a nice surprise to be paraded in by the children and some traditional Kandian dancers. After playing games with the kids and adults (including tug-of-war which we won because they let us) we were treated to a big buffet of rice and curry. It was blazing hot out, but of course the rains came and cooled us all off. It was very nice to relax and celebrate the New Year with Sri Lankans, something we don't normally get to do.
On our day off there was a lot of sleeping, except for the lucky few who rose at 5am to make it to the elephant park. The market in town was bustling and everyone bought lots of spices to bring home and a few sarongs and wraps. A couple of us even managed to work on our sunburns, roasting our winter bodies to a soft pink similar to a lot of the sunsets here. We've been so safe on the worksite wearing sunscreen, but all it took was one lazy day to undo all that.
Of course, it takes more than some burned skin to keep us from working hard all day and today Team Buddah was back to cementing the sidewalks around the new building at the monastery. We finished the floors on Friday and Saturday morning with the help of a small diesel-powered cement mixer, but today it was manual mixing again. At the school volunteers got busy with painting the new walls white and getting the yards cleaned up for tomorrow's events - our last day! It has flown by way too quickly. Everyone wants to keep working. There's always plenty to fix here, so I'm sure some of us will be back next year to continue the project.
We've had a few more incidents on the trip, as these things tend to happen. First, Jeff managed to be the target of what must have been a very large bird, while seated INSIDE at the Tangalle Bay Hotel for dinner on Saturday. Luckily he had finished his meal, which he managed to keep down after the 'bombing'. And it seems the Bruun family has a real knack for getting trapped in washrooms. This morning it was my sister, Amalie, who was locked in the Monk's toilet at the monastery. Keys were produced, which didn't work, and finally volunteer Susan put her solid shoulder into the door and busted it down. It looks like we now owe the monastery a new lock. The best part was watching the usually serene head monk laughing hysterically at the news of both mother and daughter being so adept at toilet trouble. Of course this just leaves me to get stuck in a washroom, so hopefully I can make that happen between now and Wednesday morning!
Kristian 'Loku' Bruun
Sri Lanka, April 2011