Love is the answer, but love is the problem.

Trip Start Mar 06, 2014
Trip End Apr 21, 2014

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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern Province,
Sunday, April 13, 2014

This week I finished my time at school and started a new adventure at the boys remand unit and the girls unit.

I honestly had the best time ever at my school. I made friends with people I will remember for the rest of my life and created memories which I will cherish forever. At my time at the school I was welcomed to be apart of their celebrations for their new year. It exceeded all my expectations I had of what I thought the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year would be like.
I really enjoyed being apart of their New Year celebrations. It was really interesting learning about their traditions and rituals that take place on the special day.
Although the New Year isn't for another week, the school holds such celebrations as the school Easter holidays begin on Wednesday. All teachers welcomed me with open arms into their classrooms to watch their lessons. Everyone is just so friendly over here! I feel that when I go back to Scotland, I'll be smiling and speaking to every one I pass by just because that's what happens here!!

On my last day of school I felt so many different emotions.
I was excited to continue with the new year celebrations with the children. However in saying this, there wasn't very much celebrations. As it was the beginning of the school holidays, parents came in to visit teachers to ask how their child(s) was getting on and whether there was any need for concern or any resources were needed to be bought over the holidays which would help their child progress with their studies. In a way, it was like a mini parents evening but with every child's parent there- a grouped parents evening.
This is completely different to Scotland. Parents evening are more formal, interview like meetings with set times whereas in Sri Lanka parents gathered in the classroom to listen and argue for the chance to speak to the teacher.
I always find it funny when I find something which is completely different to back in Scotland.

When I was given my gift from the grade 2 teacher it finally hit me. It was my last day at the school and that I was travelling back home soon- I don't want the experience to end!
Saying goodbye to all the children and all the staff I've made friends with during my placement at the school was very emotional. One of the grade 2 teachers calls me her daughter and on the last day she was begging me to stay and live with her. It's when you create such strong bonds with someone like that you start to question whether or not to stay for longer or go back home... Whys can't I do my viva through Skype?!
There was another elderly teacher who told me I should just stay in Galle and that I could live with her and she would find me a husband who is rich and plays cricket. At least I have a back up plan if need be!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the school I worked in. The largest Buddhist school in South Asia (that's one for the CV)! I've made friends I will remember for the rest of my life and also made unforgettable experiences - good and bad. Both the children and the staff were amazing to work with, I enjoyed them teaching me some of their language and getting to know some of them individually (which is quite difficult considering the language barrier).

I'm so glad I've done the whole 'working in a school' experience, in the north and in the south. It has been amazing meeting such amazing and talented people who are brilliant at their jobs. Working in the school in Galle and also in Jaffna has allowed me to develop so many new skills and progress with previous attributes. Some include: flexibility, professionalism, independence, communication, patience, responsibility, confidence and cultural awareness.
I'm so glad I decided to gain experience working in a school in the north and the south of Sri Lanka. It has out so much into perspective for me and allowed me to see the differences in which a war can affect a child's education and also a teachers training.

My knowledge of different education systems has also developed since being in the country. In Jaffna we taught lots of spoken English through games and songs whereas in Galle l was required to teach through a syllabus. It was a great experience which has allowed me to compare and contrast the different values in education, beliefs, cultures and religions between Scotland and Sri Lanka.

A new journey begins....
I joined the rest of the girls in the boys and the girls unit half way through this week where they've already been working hard progressing their English skills.
We start our day off working with the boys and then head down the road to the girls unit.

When I joined the girls on Wednesday there were only three boys at the home. Previously when we visited the home there were five boys.
Today we watched as one of the boys gather very few belongings to go home. Home with his family. His auntie and his cousin had arrived when we were doing an art lesson to take him home. It was honestly the most moving thing I've ever seen, I didn't even know the boy and I was crying. The whole thing just felt very emotional.
After spending less than 2 weeks in the remand unit he was going home again. I wonder what it felt like for him, a holiday? A get away? Time to relax?
The boys don't do much in the unit, there are books for them to read but other than that they just sit and watch television all day. I'm glad that we visit in the morning as they have something to look forward to! I'd really like to visit them more, possibly in the afternoon, just for a short time to do some activities or games with them outside (if we are granted permission).
In my emotional distress I seemed to forget about why the boys were in the unit- what things they had done for being in there. I seem to dwell on and think about their feelings and what they must be feeling and thinking about, being separated from their families. But at the end if the day, they have still done something wrong to be there....

At the girls there was a bit of confusion. When we visited previously there were other volunteers there working with the girls which we spoke to and got to know what they'd been up to. There was a bit of confusion as to when we were supposed to do hours and when they were but I think we've sorted it out for tomorrow (Thursday) so we'll just have to see what it brings.
As it was very crowded, Kirstin and I headed up to the sewing room to see if they needed any help/could they show or teach us anything. We ended up making handkerchiefs which had sewn patterns on the front- watch out granny!

During this week also we made friendship bracelets with the boys. Before, we were unsure as to how they would react- whether they would want to participate or want to do something else but they were really engaged in it. It was such a good activity to do! It was really relaxing and peaceful and also very rewarding!!
We progressed with their English language through the instructions we were giving them to make the bracelets: up, over, in, through (positional language). One of the boys even made a little chant out of it to remember when he was creating his bracelet.

So far this week, I've really enjoyed my time at the boys unit. I expected myself to find the girls home more enjoyable and worthwhile but now I feel that our work with the boys is more valuable as their English language is very limited and no volunteers visit the unit to work with the boys.

As it went so well with the boys, we decided to bring in some thread and made some bracelets with the girls. There were around 20 girls arguing over thread with only one pair of scissors which could be used. It was fine though, it calmed down once they got their thread and started their bracelets. It wasn't as peaceful or relaxing as it was with the boys though.

Some if the girls in the home are such strong and inspiring young girls and if anything I wish I had half as much positivity and courage as they have.

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