Watch out for the scorpions.......

Trip Start Nov 12, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Volunteer Sri Lanka house

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

.......was what I was told when I first arrived at the volunteer house. In fact over the 2 months I only every saw two scorpions! I have had such a wonderful time here and I would recommend to anyone that they visit this amazing country.

The volunteer house is part of Janaka's home and there is a separate apartment block at the back with 10 large en-suite rooms. We get 3 meals a day and fortunately breakfast is NOT rice and curry as I have had in a number of other countries. Usually its help yourself to fruit, cereal, toast and of course peanut butter!

Work at the projects usually starts at 8.30am until 11.30 or 12 then its either off to the beach for a couple of hours, off to Galle Fort for a lunch with no rice and curry in it, or back to the house. Afternoon projects start at 2, 2.30 or 3 and are usually different from what you did in the morning.

We are not allowed to take photos of the babies so I cant show any of the nappies that people donated money to. So I have taken a photo of the nappies in the resource room (see below). We have to take the right number to the orphanage every day as they are so expensive the staff take them and sell them to get money. If no nappies left then they use cloth instead. So thank you again to everyone who gave me money for my birthday and you can see what was bought with your money. I know it does not seem much as nappies are soooooooo expensive here, but they have just ran out so they lasted 2 months.

The volunteering involved a number of projects:

* elders home where I washed and massaged the feet of 12 old ladies. I tried to give them a pedicure but my nail clippers were NOT strong enough. A chainsaw would have been more appropriate. Anyway, they are lovely old ladies and they liked chatting and playing cards.
* orphanage (babies) where we changed nappies and played with the children. Can be quite harrowing as conditions are not the best.
* orphanage (toddlers) were a rowdy bunch. No English so most of the time was spent on games and arts/crafts projects. A couple of the kids were violent and would nip and kick you. Two other volunteers were scratch and both got infections in the scratch and needed antibiotics.
* Sena hasa was a home for girls who were sort of wards of the court. They had to be removed from the home for a number of reasons but mainly for their own protection. A varying degree of English skills so we had to split classes and teach basic a,b,c's with some of the while others had perfect English.
* Street kids were a great bunch of children who mostly slept out on the street. One boy wants to go to Cambridge and i am sure he is intelligent enough.
* community kids - some lovely children who we had an after school club for.
* nurses - I taught these girls 3 times a week for the last 2 months and I think they are all lovely. Very shy and giggly and when the Chinese group were here.....blimey they loved the boys
* special needs children - these were a mix of girls who unfortunately had all been dumped into the same class despite the fact that there was a wide range of skills and abilities. There were 5 deaf girls but unfortunately they didn't use British Sign Language so i couldn't communicate with them. There were a few girls with Down's syndrome and others withe general learning difficulties. One of my favourite classes.

We had the weekends off so we tended to head to the beach or just bum around the place. We did a trip to Yala National park which was a real let down. I know what water buffalo and peacocks look like. But I suppose its chance as others went and the leopards were right in front of their car!

I also had a few days off to go to Kandy and explore the hill country. I wasn't told that I had to change trains as this one is normally direct. But after 4 1/2 hours I decided to get off and I was near Adam's peak. So got a bus all the way back down the hills. It was stunning driving through the tea plantations. My driver thought he was Michael Schumacher around some of those bends - blimey I was a wee bit worried when he overtakes tuk tuks on blind corners!! Arriving in Kandy my hotel had a bath and air con and a TV. So I had 4 baths in 3 days and before any of you complain about wasting water can I just say that on my last day I had to wade through ankle deep water to get to see the temple that has Buddha's tooth in it!! So I was not worried AT ALL about wasting water. Besides I have the shortest showers in the world - even shorter here as the water is so cold!

I wont say much more as the photos all have a bit of text with them. But I had a lovely time, met some great people (and not so great people) and the 2 months has flown by. I now head to Dubai/Oman for 10 days and then not sure what is next until I head to Oz on 5th February to see family and friends.

All the best and enjoy the photos. Of course if you are on Facebook then you would have seen a lot more and other people's photos too.

Lots of love, take care and have a great 2013.
Alison x

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elainetorrance on

fabulous photos. have a ball in dubai, from poverty to the riches...

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