Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reoch Family Blog – Sewing Ladies

Posted on by Georgina

The next day we visited the ladies of the Kande Viharaya Temple sewing club, which is run from a local temple.

They had put some tables together at one end of a large hall and on them had laid out some of their wonderful work – bags, wall hangings, needle point and a handful of lovely tomatoes that look like pin cushions.

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They then kindly gave us a sewing lesson and one lady in particular, came to the front and showed us how they make one of the tomatoes.

Our daughter was invited to help with some of the sewing, which she happily did whilst our youngest watched on with delight as he saw this large red ball turn into a lovely full tomato, which he was given to keep.

A second lady showed us how they make a rather clever padded white calico hand bag with a long handle, a zip side pocket, inside lining and a hand painted elephant on the front. She showed us so fluently how she put it together as we and the other ladies looked on.

We finish up with a group photo and say our goodbyes so the ladies can rush home to continue their New Year preparations.

Mr Jaya and his colleague, Mr Teddy, drive us back to the SRI office to say goodbye. We felt very lucky to see a small part of what SRI is doing in Tissamaharma.

We very much hope to return before too long to give some “hands-on” help and maybe visit a few more projects that SRI is supporting.

 

Reoch Family Blog – MCCC

Posted on by Georgina

Our morning is not over, as we drive on the Mahasenpura Community Computer Centre (MCCC), built and run by SRI.

Here things are very different. We walk in and cool off immediately thanks to the air-conditioning units. It is very clean, with white walls and 22 computers on smart purpose built new desks in rows.

IMG_7115Lots of children are quietly doing PowerPoint projects, which they are more than happy for us to see and ask about.

Again, we had no language in common, but we seem to communicate well and all three of our children sit with the students.

This computer centre is also open to adults and one was there during our visit.

She is a mother who is unfortunately deaf, but has been helped by SRI and is learning to use a computer, which has been especially adapted to help her.

This centre is extremely impressive and the children and adults who are lucky enough to get the opportunity to learn here will, no doubt, feel forever grateful for having these extra skills.

 

Reoch Family Blog – Nadigamwila School

Posted on by Georgina

It is 9am, 35 degrees and the first day of the Sri Lankan New Year. Our family of five – myself, husband, 15 year old daughter and two sons ages 13 and seven – are generously taken by Mr Jayasinghe to Nadigamwila school to see the science room we helped to renovate.

We drive through the school gates to find a few concrete covered buildings and lots of lush green fruit and nut trees, borders of herbs and vegetables. To our delight we see a mishmash of about 30 smiling children, all in their white school uniform.

We are ushered in the direction of the Principal’s office, yet this is too good to miss – our children are as intrigued by them, as they are by us. We can hear little tittering giggles and feel the need to communicate. We walk over and introduce ourselves and receive much laughter when we say “hello”.IMG_7346

We try to repeat each other’s names and none of us do very well but we all smile. There is one tiny little boy standing right in front of me, just bursting to communicate with us in English.

Jaya translates for the Principal, Mr Kumarsinghe, and we hear all about his wishes for the school. It is clear these children are very lucky to have such a determined Principal supporting them.

IMG_7063We leave the office and walk outside toward the classrooms followed by a wave of white closing in around us with scuffling feet and quiet chatter. The children part to make way for us as we enter each classroom, waiting outside and looking at us through the wire mesh, or standing on the edge of the doorway.

The children’s colourful work is displayed as if it’s on the washing line. The classrooms are incredibly basic, but there is still a very positive and happy atmosphere even though they are currently empty of children and teachers.

We reach the science classroom. We notice the new tiles on the roof, but the room seems very empty and there is one solitary light hanging from the ceiling. Below it there are four old four old, wooden stackable tables and stools, a dusty human skeleton, an old periodic table poster, another one about plants drawn by a student and a traditional teacher’s desk on a platform.

In the corner of this desk is a hole with a grey pipe sticking out of it. This is where the Bunsen burner is supposed to be.

It is more than clear that this lab is far from finished and provides a sharp contrast to the science labs at our children’s schools in the UK, with their white walls and lab coats, masses of informative posters, solid rows of work tops with sinks, taps, Bunsen burners.

We leave the science lab with the excited children in tow, walking past all the produce they are learning to grow including a very impressive compost heap. We enter a cool darkened room with computers all around the edge. It is a wonderful relief to see one classroom with all that it should have and not lacking anything vital.

Finally, we are shown a room we cannot enter because it is in such a state of disrepair. They want to renovate it into a classroom where the children can learn English. It does not look challenging, but he school will need necessary support to give these delightful children a real opportunity to learn.

As we leave the school so do the children with much smiling and waving. Some are under their umbrellas for shade, while others are on large adult-sized bicycles that will help them to speed home for the holidays.