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Erfaringer med EXIS i Sri Lanka

Her kan du læse om tidligere deltageres erfaringer med EXIS i Sri Lanka.

Hej Exis,

En lille feedback her fra mine to måneder som frivillig på børnehjem i Sri Lanka.

Jeg har virkelig nydt mit ophold i Sri Lanka. Lige fra at bo hos en værtsfamilie, hvor man virkelig fik indblik i hvordan livet hos en srilankansk familie er, til at arbejde som frivillig på et børnehjem. Jeg er fuldstændig betaget af kulturen og alle er simpelthen så søde og smilende. Michaels familie er så søde og man føler virkelig man er en del af deres familie. Derudover laver Michaels kone fantastisk mad, som jeg virkelig kommer til at savne.

Mit arbejde på børnehjemmet har også været helt fantastisk og lærerigt og det ville ikke ha’ været det samme, hvis alle de fantastiske kvinder som arbejder på børnehjemmet ikke havde været der. Jeg er så glad og taknemmelig for mit eventyr i Sri Lanka.

Så tak fordi i sat ramme, for et fantastisk projekt!

Mvh. Kathrine

Kathrine, Danmark

It was a very nice experience and thank you !
You gave me the opportunity to be volunteer. I will go again in other countries with you.
Michael and his family are very good people that help us and gave support all the time.
The orphanage: people are working with very small contributions but they do their best. Congratulations. Love is the way to help the kids grow, be safe and to change the destiny.
Thank you for this experience and i like to continue with your association.

I’m happy,
Patricia

Patricia, Belgien

Der er ikke meget forbindelse til omverdenen hernede. Men har fundet en lille internetcafe, så her er et lille overblik over hvad jeg har oplevet i den første uge på Sri Lanka 🙂

Flyturen herned var helt fin, men meget lang. Allerede i flyet mødte jeg en mand fra Sri Lanka, og fik et indblik i, hvilket slags folkefærd sri lankanerne er. Han snaaaakkede bare derud af, og spurgte om alt muligt. Han var rigtig hyggelig – og lugtede af røgelse. Den første uge i Sri Lanka har jeg haft et sprog- og kulturkursus sammen med en tysk pige, Josie, som boede i samme hus som mig den første uge. Hun er rigtig sød. Om formiddagen fortalte Michael (ham der ejer det hus, jeg bor i) om Sri Lankas kultur og derefter fortalte hans 28 årige datter, Dineshi, om sproget, og jeg har lært en hel masse, synes jeg. Kan i hvert fald goere mig forståelig på markedet og være høflig overfor folk hernede. Efter kurset spiser vi frokost med alle de andre frivillige hver dag.

Eftermiddagen brugte Josie og jeg sammen i den første uge, hvor vi tog på små ture rundt i lokalområdet. Byen hedder Galle og ligger helt ud til havet på sydkysten. Byen er super dejlig og menneskerne hernede er SÅ utroligt venlige og udadvendte. Den familie jeg bor hos består egentlig kun af Michael, hans søn og hans kone, Pushpa, men HELE familien er der hver dag. De tager bare hjem og sover. Jeg er især vild med Dinesha, hendes mand, Indika, og deres lille 16 måneder gamle søn. Ellers har Michael endnu en datter, som også har en datter. Der er en farmor, en onkel (og hele hans familie) OG en hushjælp. Og så er der hele tiden mindst 3 frivillige. Så der er liv i huset – jeg elsker det. Jeg oplever hele tiden, selv når vi ikke laver noget specielt, for kulturen er så anderledes hernede end i lille Danmark. Bare det at køre ind at handle er en udflugt i sig selv. Der er køer på vejen og vi kører i tuktuk. ALLE siger hej og vil snakke – føler mig berømt haha. Strømmen går og kommer som det vil, familier bruger teknomusik, når de skal have babyer til at sove, alle hænger ud på gaderne osv osv. Det er godt nok spændende hele tiden. Det allerbedste er, at ingen har noget, og ALLE er glade. Selv tiggeren på gaden smiler.

Jeg har været på flere udflugter, men det mest spændende indtil videre har været turen til Sri Lankas nationalpark i Yala, hvor jeg kørte i jeep og så elefanter, krokodiller, smukke fugle, “pumba’er” (hvad Søren hedder de? HAHA), fritter, bøfler og mange flere dyr. Jeg har også hjulpet en lokal med at sætte smaa nyfødte skildpaddeunger ned paa stranden hvor de fulgte lyset fra lommelygter for at komme ned til havet. Ham den lokale fyr samler skildpaddeæg og passer på dem til de udklækkes, fordi flere i Sri Lankanere ellers samler og spiser dem. Han sørger for at de bliver sat fri. Jeg så endda en helt nyfødt komme op af jorden for første gang. Den hopper bare lige i havet efter det – de er sgu seje de skildpadder.

Jeg har også set en masse templer, som er virkelig smukke, og jeg har besøgt det lokale buddhistiske tempel en gang, hvor jeg underviste 6 munke i engelsk for første gang. Jeg skal undervise dem hver formiddag mens jeg er hernede. 2 af dem er meget unge, og ikke så gode til engelsk, men de 4 “store” er ret gode. De er skide søde og sjove. De fortæller jokes og hopper rundt. Senere (næste uge tror jeg) begynder jeg også at arbejde paa et lokalt børnehjem. Det glæder jeg mig til. Har også oplevet en masse andet – blandet andet har jeg været på en bådtur ud til en mand, som lever af at skære kanel, og jeg har besøgt lokale familier, der lever af at lave smukt stof og skære træ. Meget spændende og fascinerende. Nu vil jeg smutte igen, men jeg lader høre fra mig senere.

Kærlige hilsner fra Ronja

Ronja

Jeg bor pt. på verdens flotteste sted; i ét af verdens flotteste lande. Om morgenen træder jeg ud fra vores beskedne værelse: og direkte ud på stien, som ligger i junglen. Her mødes jeg dagligt af adskillige farverige fugle, chipmunks (egern), oddere, hunde og et væld af insekter. Længere nede af stien findes en enorm have med alverdens tropiske frugter og grøntsager (økologiske, selvfølgelig!), og til sidst smelter stien sammen med en bro. Under broen findes floden vi bader elefanterne i, samt en del andre dyr der holder til ved bredden, bl.a. oddere, og en art af en krokodille, som åbenbart ikke er farlig – siger de – men jeg tvivler, for jeg har set den, og den havde altså et gab… Går man længere op i skoven, finder man elefanternes ”senge”, hvor de står aften og nat igennem.

Min elefant hedder Pooja, hun er 26 år og vi er 4 der tilsammen deler hende. Det er ret meget, men vi skiftes til at gøre div. pligter. Pooja er den første elefant på Sri lanka der er født i fangeskab – og derfor er hun hel speciel. Hun har dog stadig det vilde gen i sig, og har vidst dræbt et par mahouter allerede (alle uheld, da elefanter ikke altid ved hvor stærke de er).
Kl 07.30 mødes vi hver morgen for at ordne elefanternes senge oppe i skoven, hvorefter vi går ned til floden for at bade dem. Vi må kun skrubbe elefanterne på ryggen da det er for farligt at stå foran deres ben og snabler, så det er ikke meget hands-on vi får med ‘fanterne.
Herefter går vi til morgenmad, og derefter vet-check, som går ud på at fodre elefanterne deres vitamin-balls og ordne deres fødder. Resten af dagen bliver brugt på havearbejde (det er virkelig nice), div projekter på stedet som vedligeholdelse, pasning af “fruit shop” en butik der sælger frugt som turisterne kan fodre elefanterne, samt undervisning på en skole, hvilket jeg ikke har prøvet endnu.

Vi har meget fritid og tager derfor selv ind til byen eller på små ture nogle dage om ugen, for ellers bliver det for kedeligt 🙂

Liv

Jeg er lige kommet hjem fra 3 uger på Sri Lanka, det har været en givende oplevelse på mange måder og sat vores vestlige liv i perspektiv. At arbejde på et børnehjem er sundt for mange, især unge mener jeg, (er selv over de 50 og med egne børn ) og endda gav det et dybt indtryk. Man lærer at påskønne sunde børn og at et liv uden alle digitale legetøj også kan fungere!!

Sri Lanka er en smuk ø; befolkningen er utrolig imødekommende og man behøver ikke føle sig usikker ved at bevæge sig rundt alene – dog som i alle andre lande skal man ikke være naiv men dog holde et øje på sine ting. Maden er super og man behøver ikke være så nervøs for maveonde da bl.a. vandet er rimeligt rent de fleste steder. Der er supermarkeder som sælger meget vestligt mad og hyggelige cafeer med vestligt præget atmosfære hvis man savner det!.

Også spændende at gå på de lokale kaffehuse!

Naturen er suveræn – den er meget varieret m. flotte strande, regnskov, højlandet (bjerge), teplantagerne, de velbevarede templer (buddhismen er vel udbredt) og så det eksotiske med deres trafikmylder!! bilos!! tuk tuk!! dytten og larm – meget charmerende.

Og så er det super billigt med alt, især transport med lokale busser koster ikke meget og det er let at selv rejse rundt – de lokale hjælper til hvis de ser man er i tvivl om noget, og deres engelsk er godt.

Håber nogle får lyst til at give en hånd til dette lille land hvor der er ro nu efter mange års borgerkrig.

Lisbeth, frivillig på børnehjem i Sri Lanka

“Drengen på børnehjemmet som vi tror har polio (vi aner det faktisk ikke) bliver forflyttet til et andet hjem om en måned så han ikke bare skal ligge i hans seng hele dagen og blive ædt af fluer. Yes! Der er tilgengæld kommet en ny pige. Roshina. “Family problems” har gjort at hun skal bo på børnehjemmet de næste 3 år, før hun kan komme hjem igen. Hun er 11 mdr gammel.”Fat Boy” har lært at gå! Og der kommer nok snart en ny tand hos en af tvillingerne.

En af de nyfødte baby’er kan smile nu. Han var bare en lille rosin da jeg så ham første gang, men nu kan han holde øjenkontakt og smile. 🙂

Læs en artikel om Phenias tur til Sri Lanka her

Phenia, arbejdede på børnehjem i Sri Lanka

Hej EXIS.

Tak for jeres mail – var meningen at jeg ville have skrevet, men tiden flyver bare afsted.

Ja, jeg er kommet godt paa plads og er i fuld gang med at arbejde. Bor hos Michael[vores koordinator] og hans familie og ikke en vaertsfamilie, hvilket er super fint, for her er andre frivillige som jeg hygger mig med + at Michael og hans familie kan engelsk.

Sidste uge var min intro uge, hvor jeg laerte sinhala hver formiddag og saa var paa tur om eftermiddagen. Det var en god maade at starte det hele paa. Ikke alle frivillige vaelger at have denne introuge og man kan vaelge det fra hvis man vil. Men jeg vil da anbefale at man gor det og specielt hvis man skal undervise munkene. Jeg har skrevet en masse ord og saetninger ned paa engelsk og saa tilsvarende paa sinhala, som jeg bruger i undervisningen nu – saa det ville jeg ikke have vaeret foruden.

Jeg underviser fra 8-11, fordi munkene har andre lektioner om eftermiddagen, men det gor mig ikke noget, for disse 3 timer gaar meget langsom. De er meget daarlige til engelsk ( isaer de smaa ), saa jeg kan ikke bare sidde og have en samtale med dem. Det er tavleundervisningen, hvor de gentager hvad jeg siger. Saa er der ogsaa 4 lidt aeldre munke, som kan lidt bedre engelsk og dem kan man godt have en samtale med, saa de skal have lidt svaere opgaver. Det gor det lidt udfordrende for mig, at disse 10 munke er paa forskellige niveauer, men de virker glade og tilfredse med den maad at det koere paa. Har koebt nogle boerneboger paa engelsk hernede – dem har jeg laest hojt for de smaa, men har faaet de store til selv at laese hojt. Har ogsaa koebt farveblyanter til de smaa – saa de kan tegne og saa skrive paa engelsk hvad de har tegnet – det kan de rigtig godt lide.

Om eftermidddagen tager jeg hen paa boernehjemmet og hjaelper til. Det er meget haardt arbejde, for der er saa mange boern og mange af dem er understimuleret, saa de er deperate efter opmaerksomhed og omsorg.

Jeg har mailet lidt til Phenia, som ankommer her d. 7 August. Har givet hende lidt gode tips. Fx at de ikke bruger toiletpapir, saa det skal hun enten have med hjemmefra eller koebe hernede. Myggespray hjemmefra er ikke noget vaerd, men hun kan koebe det hernede. Masser af solcreme, for solen er meget mere skarp. Lidt varmt toj, hvis hun skal op i bjergomraadet. Ligeledes skal hun ikke tage legetoj med hjemmefra til boernene ( hun har valgt at vaere paa boernehjemmet ) for paedagoerne paa hjemmet stjaeler det med hjemtil deres egne boern. Det er bedre at koebe lidt slik eller kiks til dem.

Jeg sender en mail med nogle billeder, naar jeg kommer hjem til DK igen.
Mvh.

Vibeke

Jeg ville prøve at opleve et fremmed land ved at arbejde og bo sammen med de lokale. Jeg ville opleve et land, som er en direkte modsætning til min egen kultur og normer og få en oplevelse for livet, hvilket jeg har fået.
Som underviser af munkene, kunne jeg helt klart mærke at jeg gjorde en forskel og fik meget positiv feedback af dem. Men jeg følte ikke at jeg gjorde en forskel / var til hjælp på elefanthjemmet, fordi der var for få elefanter til for mange frivillige. Men stadig en positiv oplevelse.
Jeg har lært at sætte pris på de små ting i hverdagen og har taget de ting fra buddhismen (meditation), som jeg synes skaber værdi for mig. Jeg ville ikke hjem og havde ondt i maven hele vejen hen til lufthavnen – det var forfærdelig at skulle forlade dette skønne land og de mennesker, som jeg havde knyttet mig til. Det var svært at falde til herhjemme, for jeg startede på universitetet dagen efter hjemkomsten og havde ikke tid til at omstille mig inden skolestart.

Jeg boede ikke alene hos værtsfamilien. Der er et konstant flow af frivillige – så ingen kommer til på noget tidspunkt at være alene med en familie. Dette kunne måske hjælpe de lidt yngre frivillige til at føle sig tryk. Jeg ville gerne have vidst at der ville blive tilbudt mange udflugter, så at jeg kunne have budgetteret med flere penge, men dette er kun en lille detalje for jeg havde ikke behøvet mine 14 dages rundrejse, for havde allerede set en masse med de andre frivillige i mine weekender.

Man har mulighed for, at rejse rundt med de andre frivillige i weekenderne eller efter endt arbejde. Lad være med at pakke en kuffert for det er umuligt, at komme rundt med sådan én i offentlige transportmidler. Jeg udskiftede min med en backpacker rygsæk.
Det er fedt at vælge to forskellige projekter, som fx børnehjem / undervise, fordi det er i Galle, som ligger ud til kysten (med den smukke palmestrand Unawatuna) og så fx elefanterne, fordi det ligger mellem Rambukkana og Kegalle, som er inde i landet længere nordpå. Herved oplever man forskellige steder af landet (jungle og strand) og to forskellige værtsfamilier.

Helt igennem en fantastisk oplevelse og håber, at have råd til at tage af sted igen til næste sommer – bare et nyt sted.

Nyt fra Vibeke

Jeg havde et rigtig dejligt ophold på Sri Lanka. Både familierne og de andre frivillige var rigtig søde og tog godt imod.
Jeg synes det var godt med kultur- og sprogundervisning og fik meget ud af at kunne lidt Sinhala senere hen. Men måske behøver det ikke være en hel uge. Det er begrænset hvor meget man kan huske af undervisningen alligevel, og de få ord som jeg fik brug for, kunne jeg have lært på 2-3 dage.

Landet er virkelig smukt og har meget at byde på, og jeg vil anbefale andre frivillige at sørge for, at komme lidt rundt på øen og opleve noget af deres kultur og deres historie.
Elefantbørnehjemmet var også en god oplevelse. Dog fandt jeg den anbefalede arbejdstid (25-35 timer/uge) lidt overdreven. Vi arbejdede typisk fra 8:30/9:00-11:30 hver dag, med at gøre rent efter elefanterne. Derefter var der ingen krav til at arbejde som sådan. Man kunne frit møde på børnehjemmet til runden med dyrlægerne om eftermiddagen (ca. 1 times tid) eller gå med til floden. Men det var også ok, at bruge tiden på noget andet, da de som sådan ikke benyttede os som arbejdskraft efter rengøringen.

Jeg har nogle få rettelser/tilføjelser til jeres rejsebrochurer til de næste frivillige;
Som frivillig på elefantbørnehjemmet, forventes det, at man køber 1-2 t-shirts med deres logo på, til at arbejde i. De koster ca 375 rps pr stk, hvilket svarer til omkring 20 dkr.
Det kan være en sjov værtsgave, at medbringe typiske danske/europæiske ting; som fx æbler eller kastanjer.

Hvis man skal arbejde på børnehjemmet i Galle, er en god gaveidé; noget blødt, som fx bløde bolde eller bamser. Børnene har en tendens til at kaste eller slå med legetøjet, og derfor vil det være godt det noget de ikke kan slå sig på.

Derudover er de lidt tilbagestående i deres udvikling i forhold til danske børn på samme alder, så derfor er der ikke nogen idé i, at give dem spil eller malebøger el.lign.

Jannie

I had a fantastic time, which certainly wasn’t guarenteed considering it was the first time I had been out of England completely by myself. But it was an amazing experience, it built up my confidence hugely and the host family were lovely, particularly the daughter Dineshi who I built up a really strong bond with very quickly in the time I was there. It is definately the best way to see Sri Lanka; to stay in a Sri Lankan home, you see the country and the people through different eyes, and they were so welcoming and friendly and laid back I wouldnt have wanted to do it any differently.

The placements were rewarding but challenging at the same time. I loved teaching the evening class in Kahluella, I think because we were given the freedom to teach whatever we wanted and organise the lesson way we thought best; in fact whilst I was there the number of students jumped from about 4 or 5 to 20-25. I think it was because we started really organising the lessons- doing arts and crafts and games with them to help them learn english. The children were lovely as well, very well behaved and enthusiastic, even the parents would sit in and listen. We used to play hide and seek and games with them outside before and after the class which were lots of fun.

The orphanage in Kitulampitya I found a lot harder. To start with the style of disclipline was very different from most western styles and secondly the staff didn’t seem to be very welcoming of volunteers. I often felt as though I was a burden as opposed to being able to help. This was probably partly due to a language barrier; the workers mostly spoke very limited english, about as good as my Sinhala, and they had also had had bad experiences of volunteers in the past. The workers often didnt want us with the children as they would get very excited when they saw us as they knew we would play with them and pick them up. It meant we spent a lot of time hanging aound of helping with laundry and meant we didnt get to build up as close a bond with the orphans. But I would like to mention that I had a very good experience working in the Montessouri connected to the orphanage; the teacher was lovely and we got to help with lessons and playing outside with them.

Although I was glad I had the oppurtunity to see what a government run orphanage was like, my experience there wasnt exactly enjoyable so for the last week I asked if I could teach the monks at the Mahamodera temple just off Colombo Road. Here I was given a lot of freedom as well and I really enjoyed it. I would say it is quite tough work though, teaching for 2 hours straight, and so it’s good to come with a bit of preparation.

Galle is a wonderful place to spend a month. It is not as crowded as Colombo, but is enough of city to keep yourself occupied each day. The main attraction is really the Fort- stepping inside it is like stepping into another world and I have spent countless hours with other volunteers wandering around the streets, chatting to the shop owners and sipping tea in the Royal Dutch Cafe or Serendipity Arts Cafe.
I made some really great friends- both volunteers and just generally, people I taught, cafe owners, family friends and relatives. I definately wouldnt have gotten so close to people in Sri Lanka if I hadnt volunteered, it is nothing like simply having a holiday and I definately want to come back!

Please let me know if there’s more that you’d like to hear about or any other information and I’d be happy to tell you.

Jasmine, England

I am Nirosha who did volunteer work in Sri Lanka. This wasn’t my first time in Sri Lanka but it was my first time getting in touch with the people and learning about the culture there. I got picked up at my hotel and then we went to my host family who lived in Galle in south of Sri Lanka. They were all friendly to me and I felt really welcome. They made sure I had everything I needed and the Sri Lankan food was sometimes unbelievably amazing good. It was a great place to stay at.

The first week we had Sinhala course which was good at first but afterwards I realised the money we paid was a lot for so little. I thought it would be more like a serious course but it wasn’t quite what I expected and I think I speak for all who went for that course at same time as me.

After that course I started my work at Sambodhi and the school next to it. In the morning I was helping the teachers in classes which was really fun because I love children but there wasn’t much to do though. They could hardly speak any English so that was sort of a problem because I could neither teach nor speak with the people there, except for playing around with the kids a bit.

In the afternoon I hung out at Sambodi, which I really enjoyed ‘cause all the people asked for there was love. It was amazing to be a part of their smiles everyday.

One month passed by and finally I felt I needed to be able to communicate with people and I felt I needed more of a challenge. My coordinator Michael helped me out and right away, the next day, I started to teach the monks in Mahmodera temple. In beginning it was sort of confusing and their culture was very new to me.

It took a few days to get know the monks a bit and figuring out what the monks’ level was in English and other things. After a week I went to the temple every day with a smile on my face. Though it was sometimes hard to keep control and be a serious teacher; those monks filled me with laughter, joy and love.

They taught me a lot and it was sure a challenge that has given me so much.

I had the time of my life during my time in Sri Lanka. The biggest reason of my happy days in Sri Lanka are my newly found friends and they made my days so much brighter. They were the people who actually really taught me about the culture and Sinhala.

For me, except helping people, finding new friends for life was the best thing about this volunteer time. All the good times that I’ll never forget. All the memories that will always be close to my heart.

I think Sri Lanka is growing for every year and I wish all the people happiness!

Nirosha, Sverige

My volunteer experience in Sri Lanka was an amazing adventure and challenge. Nothing could have adequately prepared me for the culture and lifestyle differences between 1st and 3rd world countries. Honestly, my initial response once I arrived in Sri Lanka was “What have I gotten myself into?”

However, after I recovered from the initial cultural shock, I was able to appreciate the warm hearts of those who made my stay in Sri Lanka an experience I will never forget.

During my volunteering I was attached to the “Sambodhi Orphanage “in Galle, the famous City of Dutch in Sri Lanka. There are 45 kids, disabled and adults ranging from 4 yrs old to 45 years living and being cared for at the home. My host family accepted me and made me feel a part of their wonderful family. They taught me the most about Sri Lankan culture, customs, religions and the Sinhalese language. Although the children and staff at the orphanage were absolutely amazing, I know I will never forget the kindness, laughter, love and happiness that I experienced at the orphanage. I will forever remember each and every child who opened their arms and heart to me. It was heartbreaking to leave the children, but I hope to return in the future.

I am grateful for every one who assisted me during my Sri Lanka experience. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

Erica

Wow! 10 weeks volunteer program Sri Lanka finally came to the end. It only seems like yesterday that we were groggily got off from our Singapore Airline flight and were warmly greeted by Paul, the coordinator and his son. While we were a bit apprehensive about out volunteer and home stay experience in Sri Lanka. Our hesitation was allayed by the generosity and kindness of Paul’s family and our working place over the period. There are seemingly hundreds of stories, anecdotes, and happening that took place-many more that we could possibly recount. In particular, our time spends with honorable priest, Lal and of course our unforgettable driver, Tuti will always be unforgettable.

We wish for further success that Asiahorizon-Exis could deliver such as unforgettable program to future participant as two of us experienced here in Sri Lanka. We wish all the best.

Yennie

I worked for four weeks at an orphanage in Galle in Nov 2003. Looking after 54 children aged just 5 days old to 7 years old. While frustrating at times and initially shocking, I had the most incredible, unforgettable experience of my life.

The snippets of Sinhala (Local Language) that I learned at Galle during one week language and cultural program before commencing work were invaluable, but it was most obvious that simple interaction and a smile transcended the language barrier and it was no longer an issue. Every day brought a new challenge, and a new test of patience, but with everything came the best rewards.

The welcome I received from the children and the staffs of the orphanage was the most beautiful experience of all. I feel as thought I have been allowed the privilege of knowing a part of Sri Lanka culture that is otherwise hidden away.

Thank you to Lal for all the supports – the Language program was especially useful in allowing me time to adjust to, and immense myself in, the Sri Lankan lifestyle before I commenced work.

A once in a life Time (though I hope not) experience I will never forget

Claire

Hello. I am Natalie from France presently in one of the most beautiful countries in the world that is Sri Lanka known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Since the arrival at the airport it was a great experience traveling with nice green colors all over up to the destination. I was traveling in the evening when all the offices were closed for business and the people on the roads were very colorful and cheerful always with smiles on their faces.

I arrived at the host family late in the night and that night was my first ever out of my country and the host family with their daughter and son were very happy to meet me and they gave me all what I required. It was amazing to see people with smiles and happy even though just after the Tsunami which had almost taken away all what their forefathers had collected for them in just one horrific day but every thing are good at the moment and I had the chance to go with the host family to see very beautiful temples in the south and also the wild sanctuary where we saw elephants leopards reptiles monkeys and many kinds of birds.

We also visited the elephant orphanage and saw the ancient cities of the kings. My stay at the host family helped me to go to city any time I wanted and also I occasionally went to the beach for a swim and surfing which is very common and the beaches here are hot and once you get into the water it is very difficult to come out.

Therefore if any one in the world wants to join in this program I would recommend you to do so. I feel the money you spent is rewarding event though after the tsunami which has destroyed certain areas in the country all is good and excellent.

Natalie

I am Louise, volunteer in Sri Lanka. I arrived on the 4 June and I got picked up at the Airport and there was at correct time to pick me up and later I arrived at my host family. They are very open, nice, wonderful and warm family. From the day I arrived they treated me very well with various varieties of food and the food is very delicious and I really like the Sri Lankan food, especially what Michael’s wife cooks. I am now very much used to that food and I still like to if I can eat that food everyday, and also I was given a good Sri Lankan Desert everyday after meals and also with tea she used to give something to eat like cake, biscuits and every time we are full. So its very hard to say how good the family is. I and Sarah also one day cooked ourselves our own cooking and served the host family.

The language an culture program also was very good and I was taught Sinhala for a week and I like it would be at least for two weeks because there is lot to learn, but now I am used for some words and I have learn even from the place I teach English. During the weekend and after my work is finished we ( My partner volunteer ) goes to the town, which is very near walking distance and its great to walk because we can observe many things which belongs to Sri Lankan culture, specially how the ladies are dressed and how nice they are.

Michael’ wife use to take us to the vegetable and fruit market and it’s so nice to see that here you get everything fresh. Even on weekends Michael and family, we all together goes for a picnic, Went to visit the Zoo and recently we went to the Jungle beach which looks very nice and it’s so nice to go through a small jungle and we really enjoyed the jungle beach. We two and Michael’ family went to cinema and we saw a Sri Lankan movie name (Anjalika) first time in my life and we really enjoyed that film which was very good to see and some times Michael’ daughters helped us to translate the film and we too also understood little.

During my teaching to young Buddhist monks in the temple I teach with another volunteer name (Sarah Schwartz) and it’s very good to be taught by two volunteers there. I teach for about 15 young Buddhist monks and I really like so much and I am very happy and very proud to start this project. Since this project is new the pupils are on very different levels. it is very. Very exciting and challenging and very great to see them improving there English knowledge. Actually it’s a great pleasure to me by teaching young Buddhist monks English and also they teach us some Sinhala too and I too get knowledge of Sinhala from them.

From the 10 Th July to 13 Th July we went on a trip as scheduled in our Language an cultural program lasting four days. we went to Sigiriya, kandy, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Dabulla golden cave temple. Sigiriya we climbed that unbelievable place ( Rock ) where one of the ancient Sri Lankan kings were living and its very hard to believe how they have built Tanks, Palace and other things on that huge rock and everything has been done manually without any machines used and also lot of tourists were climbing that rock was great fun.

At Kandy we visited the Dalada tooth relic temple and also we had the chance to see a live Cultural Dance which we all were attracted and it’s so beautiful. We were able to see the elephant orphanage and we got a chance to feed the elephants also and we spent lot of time looking them taking bath. Michael (RCDP Coordinator) took us to see a Spice garden on our way back and also on our way back Michael treated us very well with good accommodation and food and also with Sri Lankan fruits. So at last I would say that I am very happy with program and specially of getting a chance to teach English for young Buddhist monks and I would like to request to go ahead with this program and I would like to request some happy volunteers to join this program which is valuable and so good.

Finally, project work is another great fun.

Louise