We've found him....we've found Banda!!

Trip Start May 21, 2007
Trip End Aug 08, 2015

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today was our last day with the afterschoolers as we are leaving tomorrow at lunchtime. There was a great deal to be getting on with. In the morning time we went with Nayani to Samodagama School, a very poor school in a deprived part of Hambantota. We had heard that they had a cricket team in need of equipment so we decided to take them one of the cricket sets which we had brought over. We met the school team who were delighted with the new gear and had a quick game to try the stuff out before we left. After leaving the school we went to visit some of the Smile children's houses. Most of the children live in a place called Samigapura and last January the government decided to rebuild some of the houses as most were constructed from bits of plastic and coconut branches. However, they only gave enough materials to build half a house and though the residents were promised further help once the initial stages were complete there is no sign of this happening yet. It seems that the burden of responsibility for completing this project now lies with charities and NGOs. Though the houses are no where near complete they are many times better than the houses we remember the people living in before.

When we came back we were told by Nayani that we had to change out of our clothes into something better as today was a "special day" because we would not see the afterschoolers again. We told her that that makes it a sad day! Dutifully, we went to put our saris on and were confined to the house until summoned. When Nayani came to check on our progress she pulled a face and told us that our saris were “upset” and that she would “send someone to fix them”. Half an hour later we were still in the saris that Anna had tied. Several teachers commented on how beautiful they looked and even Milani teacher told us they looked great “though a little wrong”. We decided that this was praise indeed and we would leave them as they were.

Eventually we were called and ushered to front row seats, each having been given a red rose and were then entertained by the children. They presented dances – including the butterfly/flower dance that nearly got us suspended from dance class by Milani teacher as we laughed so much during rehearsal. Asanka and Angela, two of our pupils, also gave lovely speeches thanking us for our work at the school and asking us to come back again soon. Some of the teachers also spoke and we got the strong impression that they don’t want us to leave either. After praying for us and singing “bye bye everyone” it was time for 4 kilos of cake to be distributed. We would like to report that this was exactly the right amount, Nayani once again proving that she always knows best about everything!!

The afternoon was finished off with a mass Skype conversation between all the staff and Liz, a volunteer at Smile when Anna was first here. The staff then joined us for drinks and nibbles. We had a hilarious time with them including Milani teacher mimicking our version of 'The Peanut Song’, particularly our favourite verse “where is Banda?” We all were close to collapsing when, a few seconds later, a random man walked through the house into the kitchen and Milani shouted “”there is Banda!!” It transpires that this was in fact the man bringing fresh water for the house, but he shall forever be known to us as Banda.

This evening has been spent scrubbing, cleaning and baking in preparation for tomorrow’s departure. The banana cake for the teachers might have stayed in sliiiightly too long as we got a little bit distracted with packing, however we’re sure that its nothing a little icing can’t hide. It seems we have come full circle and are ending as we began – on the subject of food!
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Skelton on

Auhh, sounds fantastic and many more special memories! Cannot wait to see photies and make banana cake! Safe travels home! xo

Rozzy mama on

It's been a real treat reading your antics. I shall look forward to seeing photos and hearing more on Sunday. Have a good journey home xx

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