Wasgamuwa National Park is a natural park in Sri Lanka. It was declared to protect and to make a refuge for the displaced wild animals during the Mahaweli Development Project in 1984 and is one of the four National Parks designated under the Project. Originally it was designated as a nature reserve in 1938, and then in the early 1970's the area was regraded as a strict nature reserve.Wasgamuwa is one of protected areas where Sri Lankan Elephants can be seen in large herds. It is also one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The name of the Wasgamuwa has derived through the words "Walas Gamuwa"."Walasa" is Sinhala for Sloth bear and "Gamuwa" means a wood. The park is situated 225 km away from Colombo. (Source: wikipidia)
The Date was 31 July 2010, I was excited because this was my first trip to the Wasgamuwa national park. After about 6 hours drive passing wonderful landscapes ranging from mountains to waterfalls we reached the national park around evening.
Plan was to have a late evening safari and as we planned we entered the park with couple of jeeps with guides. Rest of the adventure explained in the photo series below.
Elephants (Inside the park)
Bird nests hanging alongside the trail
Sera Ella: Located close to Riverstern area near Matale
Sunset: Wasgamuwa National Park
It was time for the outreach once again and with lots of volunteers about, we could split the group into two teams! The medical volunteers headed over to Kethumathi Women's Hospital in Panadura while the Care and Teaching volunteers leant a hand at Malamulla Montessori. Charley was captain of the medics and I was leading the school operation so the competition was ferocious right from the outset! Plus it was Friday the thirteenth so I was just waiting for Charley to unleash a hockey mask and scare the living daylights out of us!
At the hospital, the volunteers painted the perimeter of the garden shiny and pure white! It gleamed in the sun once the job was done. Pete had the fun task of painting the statue and performing some ballerina-esque poses as he worked.
Meanwhile, at Malamulla, our creativity blossomed in yellow, red, green and blue, as we drew delightful flowers and butterflies all over the school and completely transformed the place. The teachers were extremely happy with the work we did and a special mention should go to Rie for her talents drawing stunning Japanese flowers.
In normal outreach style... we work hard, it's hot, we get hungry, we go to eat. This day was no exception so we headed to Sun View for a rice and curry. Sadly our hands were so smattered with paint that we had to use a knife and fork - rice and curry just doesn't taste the same with cutlery!
I have recently come home after having a one month experience at Sukitha’s Children’s Orphanage in Sri Lanka. I had an amazing time and did some fantastic activities with the children as well as with the other volunteers. One activity which was a good laugh was painting.
We had been in touch with Projects Abroad about painting the dining room and when they agreed we trekked off to the local paint shop and brought as much paint as we could to try and brighten up the dining room.
I started to design the Samanelia (butterflies), Mala (flower) and Malua (fish) which would be painted onto the walls once we had given it a brighter white background. We started to paint the dinning room on what would have been my week three and we managed to finish it by the middle of that week. The adults who also lived at Sukitha joined in with the painting and as you can imagine it went everywhere, but it all added to the fun of painting. The children who went to school did not see the painting till lunch time as the school is separate from the main building, but they all seemed to love it. Most of them were trying to take us by the hand so that they could tell us what each item was that had been painted onto the walls.
During this week we also started to scrub down the back garden which had been painted by projects abroad around 5 years ago. With the paint which we had left, this was quite a lot we begun to paint over the designs which were already there. There was some wall area which hadn’t been painted on so we decided that with the help from Kitty and Emma we would add some animals and insects to add some more colour. The garden looked great by the time it was finished and the girls who used it seemed happy with the result.
By week four we still had paint left over. The girls enjoyed colouring but this made a mess of the tables in the dinning room so we decided that with some material which was lying around we would make it into table cloths, which the girls could use to cover the tables when doing anything messy. The material was looking very plain so with the paint we had left we set up a design area outside and gave the girls some paint brushes and paint and allowed them to put onto the material what they wanted. I joined in with the younger girls to give them some help and was showing them how to paint there hands and then put there hands onto the material and make up hand prints. The younger girls loved doing this and soon the others had realised what we doing and began to copy. All in all this was an interesting afternoon but it soon had to be packed away when the girls started to paint each other.
All in all I loved my time at Sukitha and I am looking forward to coming back.
Wow what an experience!!!!
Last week a couple of our superstar volunteers organised a sports meet for the older children at Mawala school, near Wadduwa. Yvonne Van Persie used funds she had raised in Holland to organise a morning sports event. She also donated all the equipment to the school after the day was done. With Laura Hunt’s help, they arranged a really fun sports meet!
Volleyball, soccer, sack races, relays, bowling and badminton were all on the programme. Each of the ten teams wore a different coloured ribbon on their wrists and rotated around the circuit. One volunteer was assigned as team captain for each group and another volunteer supervised each activity to make sure everyone was being a good sport!
At half time, we ate some buns, bananas and flavoured milk packets to replenish all the energy lost running! Then came the final event, the relays… Every team sought victory so the competition was fierce. By midday, the results were in and Yvonne and Laura announced the winners and gave out chocolate prizes to the runners up. The winning team captain, Arnaud, was thrilled with his team’s efforts!
Having been in Sri Lanka for just over a week, I found that life in this new country was beginning to feel normal. Despite the significant differences between daily activities here and in my home country Canada, I have developed a general Sri Lankan routine and am content with it. However, it was my second Saturday in the country and my Montessori field trip, that gave me the opportunity to get a sense of the character of the Sri Lankan people.This experience and the insight that came with it, made my trip into more than just a new routine; it became a window through which I could observe the generosity, the focus on family and the sense of community of a remarkable culture.
Climbing onto the bus at 8.00 am, I quickly realized that in Sri Lanka, field trips are for the whole family. The bus was overflowing, not only with the students at the Montessori daycare where I was volunteering, but with their mothers, fathers and siblings as well. Altogether, there were more than fifty of us squeezed into a bus intended to hold far fewer people, I shared my seat with a family of three.
With this assortment of people,the atmosphere on the bus was warm and friendly.Someone had brought a drum along and an energetic group was singing songs in Sinhala, moving gleefully to the beat despite being packed into the aisle of the bus.Most of the passengers joined in the singing-they all knew the words to everything. I participated too, clapping along enthusiastically and earning smiles from the people sitting around me. I felt like a part of a big, welcoming community.
The field trip ended up taking much longer than the four or so hours I expected-we did not arrive home until 9.00pm, after visiting a temple, a bird and fish park and nature park. The day was exhausting, but left me feeling happy. In that group, on that trip, I really felt like I fit in among the Sri Lankans, who offered one more biscuits than I could possibly have eaten and provided me with beautiful flowers to lay at the feet of a statue of the Buddha. After this day, Sri Lankan life was more than just a routine to which I had grown accustomed. After this day, I felt like I truly belonged.
By Sarah Lundy, Canada
Woensdag 14 juli heb ik een trip voor de kinderen van de Ruhunu Orphanage georganiseerd en het was echt super!! Dinsdagochtend kreeg ik eindelijk de toestemming van de Commission van het weeshuis en dinsdagmiddag heb ik samen met Brooke alle benodigde spullen gekocht: water, appelsap, sinaasappelsap, biscuits, yoghurt, ballen voor op het strand en ander speelgoed (schepjes, emmers, vormpjes, etc.), handdoeken, pampers en zeep. Het was een heel karwei om alles in een tuktuk te krijgen.
Woensdagochtend warden Brooke en ik om 8.30 uur opgehaald met de bus die ons overal naar toe zou brengen. Dat was wel even een schrikmomentje, want er zouden nooit 18 kids en 11 volwassenen inpassen. Maar de man van de bus kon gelukkig nog een tweede bus regelen! Bij het weeshuis aangekomen waren de kinderen al heel enthousiast! Geholpen met aankleden en sommige moisten de pampers aan. Daarna de bus verder ingeladen met alle spullen en ook extra kleding mee genomen. De andere vrijwilligers, Philipp en Kathy, arriveerden om 9.15 uur. Even wat belangrijke mededelingen met hun doorgenomen en de kinderen deden ondertussen hun ochtendritueel bij het Boeddhabeeld. Daarna met zijn allen de twee bussen in. Op moment dat we het weeshuis verlieten met de bus begonnen de kinderen enthousiast `bye, bye!` te roepen erg schattig! Sommigen bleven dit ook de hele heenreis volhouden!
Bij het hotel waar we `s middags de lunch zouden hebben, hebben we de bussen geparkeerd en alles uitgeladen. Toen de straat overgestoken en daar was het strand! Er is 1 jongetje die ik altijd Bruce noem, omdat hij zo stoer en macho overkomt, maar toen hij het water in de gaten kreeg, begon hij snel terug te lopen en te huilen en te schreeuwen..daar ging zijn bijnaam;) De kids mochten met de staf van het weeshuis en ons het water een beetje in en ze vonden het geweldig! De directrice had op de heenweg in de bus gezegd dat sommige kinderen nog nooit weg waren geweest uit het weeshuis, dus dit was echt heel leuk voor ze! Op het strand gespeeld met wat kokosnoten die we mee hadden genomen en al het speelgoed. Tussendoor was er tijd voor water en yoghurt.
Na het strand konden de kids douchen bij het hotel en schone kleding aantrekken. Daarna moesten we even wachten op het eten, dus wat tekeningen gekleurd. Het eten was heerlijk! Fried en steamed rice en curry, chicken curry en fish curry. Voor de kids was er nog een echt Sri Lanka toetje, waar ze geen genoeg van kregen! Zou ik ook hebben als het chocola was!;)
Om 13.45 uur met de bussen terug naar Galle gegaan en daar naar een park gegaan. Hier konden de kinderen in een speeltuin spelen. Ik hielp 1 van de jongste meisjes bij het glijden en klimmen, want dat vond ze nogal eng. Maar na een tijdje durfde ze steeds meer zelf! Vervolgens de apple- en orangejuice gedronken en de biscuits gegeten. Erg lief om ze allemaal bij elkaar rustig in het gras zien te genieten! Daarna met zijn allen via het park naar het Dutch Fort in Galle gelopen. Bruce die aan mijn hand liep, begon meteen tegen te spurtelen toen hij het water zag en de brug waar we overheen moesten;) Dus Chamika had hem maar opgetild om hem toch aan de overkant te krijgen. Eenmaal daar liep hij weer macho rond alsof er niets aan de hand was;) Helaas begon het toen erg hard te regenen, en we besloten om niet naar de vuurtoren te gaan wandelen (de staf was bang dat de kinderen anders verkouden zouden worden door de regen). Dus we gingen een klein museum in, waarin je wat Sri Lankese vissers zag, boten van vroeger en wat dieren uit de oceaan. We wilden nog een ijsje met ze gaan halen, maar helaas mocht dat niet omdat de staf opnieuw bang was dat ze verkouden zouden worden door de combinatie wind, regen, kou -wat je kou hier noemt;)- en koud ijs. Rond 16.00 uur kwamen we terug bij het weeshuis. De kinderen werden naar de grote slaapkamer gebracht. Het was een vermoeiende dag geweest voor de kids, en dat kon je ook zien, want sommigen vielen meteen in slaap! Twee zaten op een stoel en waren met hun hoofden tegen elkaar in slaap gevallen, heel lief om te zien!
Met alle vrijwilligers zijn we nog een ijsje gaan eten. De directrice vertelde me nogmaals later dat ze erg blij was met de trip! Ze zei dat de kinderen erg genoten hadden!:D Helaas mocht ik van de stafleden geen foto`s maken. Maar geloof me als ik zeg dat de kinderen echt een geweldige dag hebben gehad!! De directrice zei ook nog dat ze er geen woorden voor had. Maar het gelach van de kinderen en hun stralende gezichtjes op deze dag, zegt meer dan genoeg!!:)
Jeffrey busy at work in the pharmacy!
Maryam and Samanthie testing it out on each other before they try it on a patient.
Natasha concentrating hard.
Action stations, people!
We welcomed another eager group of Two Week special Care and Community volunteers last week. The group have been working at Malamulla Montessori and Moderavilla Tsunami Camp. They have been working extremely hard doing a host of arts and crafts activities and even helping out at a sports meet organised by some Projects Abroad volunteers. Today they went on a shopping trip in Colombo and they will head home tomorrow and Sunday. Thanks for all your hard work guys!
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