Saturday, 5 March 2011

February is very HOT! Internet is very SLOW! Classes are very FULL Children are very HAPPY

Harvesting the King coconuts from the garden of Siri Madura
Dear Friends
The title reads rather like a selection of my flash cards for the English Conversation Teenage group!
The teenage group takes a lot of energy and concentration but its very exciting to see them grow in confidence each week.I do have to fool around a lot to wake them up from their politeness. 
If anyone speaks Sinhala they get a yellow card. If anyone says they don't understand they get a blue card.
3 yellow cards means only 1 buiscuit and 3 blue cards means an extra biscuit. ( not that Ive ever inmposed the outcomes!) The young people are extremely quiet . The small ones insist on standing everytime they speak to me and it's hard to know if I should discourage this traditional mark of respect for the teacher or not!
I can't begin to describe the delight of the children who attend the classes at being able to succeed at all sorts of activities. If , as I believe , enjoying and achieving helps to raise self esteem and give confidence then we are certainly on the right track.

with volunteers -Scottish Eilidh and German Katrina
 Moved to tears
Recently an English couple , Denise and Martin who were staying near to the Centre began taking Zigger to their villa garden so that he could run free on the grass. They also helped to paint some of the centre walls and as they left gave me a donation. I cried at this unexpected gift and it made me realise how much I want to provide more places for the village people in the classes.
Now from your donations we can provide each week  1 Kandian dance class 1Art class 1 Music class , all with local teachers and 3 English conversation/ emotional health  classes-that's with me and a local helper and lots of Morph cartoons.
The waiting lists are long and so Ive restricted children to one class of 8 weeks only.
Oh dear ---its not good when they turn up and ask to be let in, accompanied by their parents and holding the notebook and pencil which they assume will always be needed
Morph and Secret Millionaire.
In the English conversation I'm using Morph video clips from Youtube which goes down very well unless the internet is not working. Last week I had to use a clip from an old Secret Millionaire tv programme that I had on my laptop. They were puzzled by the sight of a run down housing estate in UK.

A Cleaner !!! Mangelica is wonderful.
I have been trying to clean the whole centre myself each day and getting very tired by 9.0am. now the charity has appointed a cleaner and it makes a huge difference. This week I was able to take Zigger for a run on the beach at 7,0am and be back to open the office by 9. and not exhausted at all. Ive actually been in the sea for the first time. The water is really warm and so refreshing. I mainly just paddle and sit in it as the waves are rather much for me to attempt to swim.

Kandian Dancing begins !!
At last, after much fretting and nagging, the Kandian dance teacher begins her class on Sunday afternoon in the now completed outside space. The registration sheet is already full and the waiting list grows.

Rassica is a proud father!
Rassica the Tuk tuk driver who has been showing me the sights of the area has been absent in the last few weeks as his wife Mutu gave birth to a tiny baby girl. He is busy every day washing and cleaning and is the picture of proud Dad. The baby was 3 weeks early so he hadnt finished his plan of connecting running water to his house and has just about completed it now.. Can't say how great it was to visit Mutu and hold the so small child .
Well I cant say that its all a bed of roses though I now do have a bed of tomatos and pineapples and pumpkin and mango and papaya trees and a grassy area where zigger runs like mad early morning before collapsing in a hot heap under the bed. He scared the living daylights out of me by getting an infection on his face and refusing to eat ! The animal doctor who is excellent gave him injections  and antibiotics and he is now fine. I did feel guilty bringing him to a place of so many dangers. We think he got the infection from rooting around in the garden where the monkeys visit at night.  I've had a few shaky moments in the last month as the internet has been difficult and so many small jobs still to be completed in the Centre and it has been very very hot. But I sing along to old choir MP3s and listen to podcasts of Desert Island discs and Friday news quiz and lately the 10 oclock news comedy show. If anyone has any DVDs of films or Cds of audio books they no longer need please send .
Over 50 people per week now attend classes at the centre and I have to find £160 per week to pay for that.
of course I can allways reduce to classes I can run myself but the music , IT and Kandian dance are beyond even my skills !
The villagers lives contrast starkly at times with the lives of the tourists and expatriates living side by side in the same lane - Wewelagoda Rd . Wooden shacks with standpipes outside next to Aicon villas with swimming pools- and of course they assume that I am rich and own Siri Madura. Several people a week ask  about their money problems and I just have to say no and put my spare cash into the project. Im not sure we are reaching the poorest children and am trying to make sure that  everyone knows what we can offer. Getting translations of information into Sinhala is complicated but we're getting the hang of it now.

trying out the slack line in front of the disused well water tower
The last Sukitha orphanage arts day. Care staff are in Saris.

Starting to lay the concrete for the theatre space.

The Music teacher and  2 boys trying  out scales on the keyboard while Demi watches .

Kali, who helps with translation , sits in the doorway watching her severely disabled 19 year old daughter Demi, who loves the music.

Zigger always turns up at juice and biscuit time. this is the childrens art group with a young tourist from France.

Waiting to begin the fortnightly film evening and for the rest of the audience to arrive. This was a Hindi Bollywood movie and very very long. We may only have Hindi films occassionally and alternate English and Sri Lankan films. Next week its the Wizard of OZ- (because Ive got the DVD with me!) Whole families come to the film evening which here was in the ~Hall but now we use the outside theatre space.