The return trip has begun...Team Blog
Trip Start May 21, 2007
135Trip End Aug 08, 2015
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So here we are at last in Hambantota!! It all started at 530pm on Sunday 19th October 2008 at Heathrow Terminal 4. Mr Richard, Colin and Caroline were leaving for 2weeks, with Anna, Holly, Nikki and Pam Auntie setting up home for 6months.
After some tearful farewells, the excitement kicked in, as we waited to board. 11hours, 2 plane meals and a lack of sleep later, we landed and ran into the arms of Ronali (Smile's link in Sri Lanka and our Sri Lankan Mummy). We also added another 2week member to the team, Ruth who came to us via Singapore. It was then off to the lovely (or "lasseni" as us pretend Sri Lankan's would say) Pegasus Hotel for some R&R before our 6hour bus journey to Hambantota the following morning. Anna and Caroline (Richard chickened out) decided to use the pool facilities even though we were in the middle of a thunder storm. They decided to call it a day after 20mins as they realized lightening and water were perhaps not a great mix.
We started out on Tuesday morning at 6am for the journey down to Smile Lanka. We had a cultural briefing at Ronali and Heshan's the night before, followed by traditional Sri Lankan Chinese! On arrival, the first thing we noticed with the heat and humidity! The lovely, sticky, sweaty busload of us were greeted by the children with flowers and lots of very cute singing. We also met Katie, who has been here for 2weeks and is staying until December. This was followed by much needed showers, unpacking and mingling with the kiddies. Our first day was finished with a delicious feast of bacon sandwiches - again another local cuisine!
Wednesday was our first proper, full day. Anna, Holly and Nikki experienced Preschool for the morning. Initial thoughts from them were that the children were all very cute but have a cheeky side as well - quite different from Preschool children at home. There are also a lot of new names to learn, pronunciation classes may be in order!! Pam Auntie, Ruth and Caroline spent the morning in the kitchen, preparing the food for the 150 staff, children and the team. This involved a lot of washing, chopping and grating! It was a very calm and collected kitchen under the expert advice of Parwadi, head chef.
The Afterschoolers arrived for a games afternoon organized by Katy. After lots of fun rally games, Anna's team won with a grand total of 15. Caroline's team came a close last with 1point. There's no animosity at all......!! Initial thoughts of the afterschoolers were they love to chat and are confident.
At the end of the day, Ruth, Anna and Caroline felt energetic and slightly sweaty so decided to cool off in a local hotel's swimming pool. It turned out we were not alone as we had an audience of monkeys in the tree above.
And that's 3 days in 1, hopefully our internet will be up and running in the next few days so we can be more regular. So until them, Smile Team Sri Lanka Oct08 say farewell!!
PS. Apparently if you google "Hambantota photos" some very interesting pictures of our very own Mr Richard appear - indeed he is a local tourist attraction.....!!!