Start of Project

Trip Start Jan 06, 2006
Trip End Mar 28, 2006

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Thursday, February 9, 2006

After a realxing weekend at the beach in Negombo just outside of Colombo, we had a 2 hour drive to Moratuwa where our house is. The drive itself was quite interesting in comparison to India. The roads are smoothly tarmacked. There are alot more privately owned cars on the road and the majority of people wear western clothes. Although there are a few saris and lunghis worn. Also, all motorcyclists wear crash helmets which is very different from India!
The house is lovely. It is owned by architects and is pretty much completely open except for the front and back doors! The sleeping arrangements are very different from what i'm used to too. Us 6 youngest girls are sleeping in the living room which is a great, high ceiling room. However, we can't shut it off from the rest of the house so i'm finding the lack of privacy a bit difficult. Having said that, I like the other people in the group. Once again they are mixed in age and profession: student, nurse, farmer, retired....
One of the first visits we did, was to a shanty town near where we are staying. It's position is literally right on the beach and as you probably guessed, it was destroyed by the tsunami. The children who live there will be using the resource centre we are helping to build. It was incredibly moving. These people are living in shacks and on top of eachother and yet they are very proud of what they have. As a result, we got lots of invitations by some of the women to visit their houses.
Later that afternoon, we visited the project site and met the children. Once again we were mobbed for us to take their photographs!
This week has mainly been sifting sand, mixing cement, and rendering. I've got quite good at rendering now! The Sri Lankan builders are certainly more 'relaxed'. We had a talk the other night about the history of Sri Lanka where we were told that a common Sri Lankan trait is sleepyness, bordering on laziness! I now know what he meant. The builders aren't lazy but they do alot of staring out of the window! The Indian builders on the other hand always tried to anticipate what you might want. I guess it's a cultural difference.
This afternoon, we visited another shanty town and a refugee camp all linked to the tsunami. It's amazing that so much International aid was sent and yet a year on people are still living in shacks. I think all of us felt quite angry.
Anyway, on a happier note, this weekend we are off to Uda Wallewe National Park to see an elephant rehabilitation centre and Ratnapura, the capital of gem stones. Can't wait.
lots of love
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