The day started with parging inside the library (the computer lab is done) and some heavy duty “landscaping” until lunch. Then we took a little extra time to go to the Sunday market where we all bought spices, sarongs and “Sri Lankie blankies” (beautiful Sri Lankan bed sheets that make perfect tablecloths or beach blankets).
Then it was off to the Muslim neighbourhood for the installation of a much needed playground. Easily the most scorching site yet with full blazing sun and no breeze at all in the hottest part of the day. As we toiled away the neighbours all came out and brought plastic chairs which they placed in whatever shade they could find. The children crowded around and watched excitedly as their new playground was being prepped for installation. Everyone was all smiles which felt great as this is a new community to us and we were made to feel very welcome. David and Bruce pulled an extra-long shift at the new playground site, working most of the day there. David becoming a neighbourhood favourite as he sprayed the children with the water hose the family next door lent us to help mix concrete with. It was a tough go but these kids are going to be very happy.
What a hot and still day at the female monk’s preschool! Poor Scott and George were closet pargers for the entire day…no air…no room to turn around, let alone see what they still needed to parge. Interestingly, they never came out of the closet! In Scott’s own words, it was like working in a greenhouse in 40 degree temperatures with their work boots slowly filling with sweat. On a high note, they never had to take a pee break in spite of all the water they consumed.
The rest of Team 3 had a slightly easier day, finishing up a few spots that had been missed by paint, and then putting the preschool back together. Thank goodness one of the Sri Lankan women hovered in the room while we put the furniture and flooring back as she knew where everything needed to be placed. By the end of the afternoon, the room was swept, organized and ready for the school day tomorrow. What a wonderful feeling to have finished one of our projects! The second floor room was also swept and the freshly painted furniture was put back in position. Two rooms completed!
The playground was worked on with the new equipment placed, the holes dug and the cement poured. The children will be so excited to have a place to play outdoors!
It was a great day for Team 3, with their close proximity to the market a wonderful lunchtime bonus!!
The team flipped back and forth between the new building and the community room. At the new building, some helped with the forms that were put in place, soon to be filled with cement which will form the walls. The workers were happy to teach Amalie choice Sinhalese words, which she later found out could not be repeated to either Anil or the monk!
There was a press to finish the painting in the community centre. The full moon ceremony is fast approaching and the monk would be delighted to see the space completed beforehand. He is thrilled that we have been able to re-paint this room as the May full moon is most significant as this is the month Buddha was both born and died.
Local children attending Sunday school, spent a good deal of time watching us paint. From a shy start, soon the students were climbing through the windows to get their picture taken by Eloise! Given more time, they would have tried to help us paint which may not have been so bad, as we seemed to be getting more paint on the floor than the walls!
While many spent lunch at the market, the monk provided a special moment for Janet, Peg and Richard when he invited us in to see the private room in which he worships. It was such as honour.
Many wonderful memories for all of us!
DWC/TRIP Canada Team Leader
Sri Lanka, April 2015