Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 19: Day 1 - First Update From Team 11!

Amalie, Bruce and Janet arrived early to make sure everything was ready for the fabulous Team 11 starting to arrive in the early hours of the morning Sunday April 19.

Sri Lanka is hot and beautiful as always with all recovering with the Sinhalese-Tamil New Year’s celebrations. A time for family, thanksgiving and much consumption of Arack!

A warm welcome from our good friends here Raelene, Anil, Ruwan and all our friends at Moonstone.

A flurry of last minute arrangements and changes – we are pretty sure that Kristian and George won’t want to share a double bed so a number of hotel and room changes.

TRIP Canada Students: At present we are providing scholarship support for 11 university students and 7 high school students in tuition classes to improve their education opportunity.

We were delighted that the university students were home for the New Year’s break and able to come for tea. For the seven new students we presented them with new laptops which make a significant difference to them for their studies:

A visit to our three work sites which have been underway since January with local workers under the eagle eye of our boss Podi – who is quite possibly the smallest Sri Lankan we have ever met and the best construction manager.

Team 11 has 28 volunteers – half veterans some who have been here multiple times. And the rest very welcome newcomers. Over their time here the volunteers will be making a difference in literally hundreds of lives as they work on schools, spiritual centres and playgrounds for several communities.

The volunteers will be divided into three teams and each team will rotate through the different worksites several times providing exposure to different construction skills, cultures and local people.

Not only are they giving their time, each volunteer has donated $500 to the cost of the projects and thanks to our generous donors all building will be completed over the next few months.

Here is what they will experience……

SUDHARMA TEMPLE AND PRE-SCHOOL – Is home to a female monk who has sustained a crumbling temple and school for 42 (ages 3-5) with virtually no formal financial support.

The facility is also used for afternoon tuition classes, community gathering place and meetings. The volunteers will complete one large room, a kitchen and playground spending their time mixing concrete, plastering, putting down floors and learning how to erect a playground, something we have never done before.

PALATHADUWA BUDDHIST TEMPLE – In the community where we have worked since the tsunami we have a very special relationship with the Monk, who is in great need of a new building for Sunday School and other important community events.
The temple is truly the spiritual hub for the 200 poor families who live here. The volunteers will start from the beginning here digging foundations in hard packed earth with many tree roots:

TANGALLE MUSLIM COMMUNITY – 300 families live in their own community with their own school of 91 students all grades. Generally they work in the garment industry and the living conditions are quite desperate. The volunteer will complete a new building which will be their library, computer lab and meeting room – more concrete, plastering, flooring and they will be putting the roof on. Within the community we will be clearing land and building a new playground for all kids.

EYE GLASSES & SUN GLASSES – Under the leadership of long-time volunteer Hilary Bruun we are experimenting with a new eyeglass project which will provide instantly adjustable readers and distance glasses and sun glasses to prevent eye damage. Most people who need glasses do not have access. This was started by the Developing World Connections team in February. More info to come!

We are happy to report that all the volunteers arrived safely and we had an amazing welcome dinner Sunday night. This is a special group of people eager to work hard, make a difference and have lots of fun!

Janet McKelvey
DWC/TRIP Canada Team Leader
Sri Lanka: April 2015

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