This month has been an extremely exciting one for everyone in the Projects Abroad Sri Lanka team. Not only because our volunteers have been teaching Buddhist monks, observing autopsies, giving free medical healthcare to the poor at our medical camp, teaching orphans, looking after adults with mental disabilities etc.. but also because we have just started a sports placement in one of the government schools where we send many teaching volunteers.
This government school has 4500 pupils aged between 5 and 17, and until recently there was no, or limited, sports lessons for these kids. After a lot of preparation, chatting and attempting to speak broken Sinhala, myself and the rest of our team arranged a schedule for our future sports volunteers at this government school. We arranged for the volunteers to teach the children a variety of sports, including gymnastics, football, acrobats, athletics, cricket etc.. and we made sure that the volunteers can be flexible while at their placements and they will be free to implement their own ideas.
We recently welcomed our very first sports volunteer, Lisa Van Keulen from the Netherlands. This is a real treat, because Lisa is a national acrobat champion in Holland! On her first day of placement she was welcomed by a class full of extremely excited 12 year olds who were eagerly awaiting their gymnast lesson.
Lisa has now been working at this placement for one month. She has been teaching sports to the oldest and youngest in the school. It is amazing to walk around the school with her because she is famous! All of the kids would like to speak with her and show their gratitude for her hard work. The words ‘teacher, teacher, teacher’ spread around the whole school and some kids even bow to her feet!
All in ...
Here are some piccys of our most recent graduation ceremony at the Projects Abroad I.T centre in the sleepy seaside village of Wadduwa. Well done to everyone that graduated!
Anne is from the UK and she has recently retired. She thought, what better way to celebrate her start to retirement than to do a project with us in Sri Lanka. Although she was not a teacher for her career, she did have some teaching experience and she felt that the project that most suited her would be a teaching project. After much discussion with Gishan (our desk officer), they agreed that she would be happy to teach Buddhist monks.
Every time I am amazed at how wonderfully lovely this experience is for the monks and the volunteers! Teaching Buddhist monks in a picturesque part of the beautiful country is something that we are proud, in fact honored, to be a part of. Making a positive difference to people’s lives is a fundamental aim for Projects Abroad, and making a positive difference to these extremely spiritual people is…well, something that is an unforgettable experience for the whole of our team..staff and volunteers.
Anyways, back to Anne now…Anne has been teaching young monks, in one of the temples that we work with, for six weeks. During her time with us she has taught many monks, aged between 8-21, and she has even witnessed an ordination ceremony. This is where, according to Aruni, ‘monks get monked!’… In slightly less simple terms, it is basically a ceremony that celebrates the stage of a young monk’s life where he/she has passed a set of disciplinary procedures. After the ceremony he/she can perform certain rituals etc (cutting a long story short). A very special, and for some spiritual, thing to witness.
Last Monday was Anne’s final day of teaching. She was given dozens of gifts and letters from the monks and was a tad emotional when I met her. She told me on numerous occasions that this experience has ...
Last weekend was the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. They celebrate new year at this time of year because on April 12th and 13th the sun moves from Meena Rashiya to Mesha Rashiya (yer.. I’m not really sure either!). There were parties, and celebrations, across the whole island and everyone gives each other lots of sweets. It is Sri Lankan tradition to feed and give all year round, but during new year it is twice as bad! Every day for a week I have been forced to eat these sweets.. Too many sweets! Anyways..I’m going off track.
The Projects Abroad Sri Lanka team couldn’t resist the opportunity to get the volunteers in the new year festival spirit, and we thought, what better way to celebrate than with the children at one of our many different placements?! After some discussion, we decided to arrange a day of sports and games for the girls at Anula Girl’s Orphanage.
Julie playing pin the tail on the elephant
At around 9am last Friday, 25 volunteers were greeted by around the same number of orphaned girls at the orphanage. The girls were their normal cheeky self, but at the same time a little shy from all of these foreigners! The main duty for the volunteers was to care for these girls, but we all got involved with the fun. The girls played so many different silly games, including bun eating competition and fancy dress parade...a personal favourite was the best cry competition (although mildly cringy). They also sung many traditional Sinhalese songs to the volunteers. The day ended with a Projects Abroad staff vs volunteers volley ball match. All of the girls picked a team and were giving us support and shouting ’service, service, service!’ which made everyone twice as competitive (it ended in a draw). After this we had lunch and ...
Andrea is from Germany and she has now been a medical volunteer with Projects Abroad Sri Lanka for 3 months. She is a ‘pre-med’ (what we call our medical volunteers with no prior medical experience) and she came here to get some experience in this field.
While in Sri Lanka, Andrea was living with the Arjuna family. This family live within 5 minutes from the hospital where Andrea works and the host parents are both doctors at this hospital. This is great because the host parents provide so much support and advice for the volunteers during their time with us in Sri Lanka.
Below are some pics of the Arjuna family and Andrea’s emotional farewell. There are three children in this family, but unfortunately one was at school when these pics were taken.
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