Wednesday, 15 June 2011

April to June . UK sunshine, Vesak festival, Eilidh leaves and Valy moves in!

Dear Friends,
I have sent some emails to those on the list but I am sorry to have taken so long to update the blog. Since March I have spent 3 weeks in UK, leaving Zigger here, and then returned to sort out the 2 year retirement visa and restart the classes. I went to  Kandy in the cooler hill country for 2 days ensure a seat for the August "Perehera" a big street parade that goes on for a week and culminates with 150 elephants, dancers and performers going through the streets. Good for tourism but was sad to learn that this year all the best seats were block booked for overseas corporate entertainment.
VALY comes to stay
I decided to take care of the outside dog as we couldn't get her to leave the garden and she was sick - so VALY joins the team and has had 2 operations and is now fine. Zigger is cautiously welcoming and Valy stays outside the house. Since securing  the 2 year visa after much complex dealings with banks I have felt more like this place is now home.
UK was hectic - I was there for the Easter and the wedding bank holiday weekends which were limiting for travel and admin and was sad that I could not see all my friends- 2 years seems a long time but now I have a good WIFI connection I can keep in touch .

In May the celebrations of the 2600 anniversary of the Lord Buddhas birth --VESAK -  involved a magical scene each night of small oil lamps set out in the lane and paper lanterns on every building.
I hope the pictures tell the story but most satisfying has been that we now have all the classes working! I have put aside enough money from your donations to keep going full steam ahead until the end of September by which time I hope more money will come rolling in. With the regualar monthly donations from individuals totalling £60  month I can keep the basic classes going and Hullabaloo community Quire in Brighton have raised enough to pay for the Kandian Dance and Computer class teachers. Without rent , electricity and water the cost of keeping the classes going is £200 per month- for teachers, helpers, refreshments and some transport.
DO YOU SHOP online?
Eddigoeseast is now registered on the site . If you register and use any of their retailers ege or any other charity you might want to support gets cash from the retailer .
Really the smallest amount goes a long way here . At the moment I'm looking for £50 to make a simple bamboo fence to go round the outside theatre space as I'd like the children in the Kandian dance and play classes to have a bit more privacy from the street and it would mean we don't have to wash the concrete before each class because the dogs would be kept out. It;s a bit of a luxury but would be well worth  it.

So here are the pics which I hope tell the story of the last 3 months.
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In UK -- Met Many many good friends- this is Rosanna outside the Tate Britain when temperature was 25C !!
 Rottingdean to Seaview cafe as well as Preston park cafe, Bond
St Nero cafe, James St Coffee bar Gardner St, Sydney St and Pavilion Gardens-- lots of cake !!!!
 And Stanmer Park of course - cherry blossom and more cake !

Back to Sura Medura where Mangelica the amazing house keeper had got her hands on the art class glitter to welcome me back and Sisera the guard had set up table and tea in the garden and Zigger met me at the airport and stopped sulking after about 10 minutes.

Eilidh leaves.
Eilidh Graham helped by local artist Sumudu bakes her farewell cake before she returned to Scotland after 6 months here. She has been coming to Sri Lanka every year since the Tsunami and particularly helps the Girls at Sukitha orphange. Without her experience Sura Medura and me would be have been at a loss.  I hope she comes back soon!
However, 2 young people from Brighton are turning their redundancy to good effect by raising money to come out here for 6 weeks in September to help and run play and camera workshops

                                                    It's Sunday Afternoon at Sura Medura 
The Junior Kandian dance class struggles a bit with left and right hands . Maybe one day they will be dancing like these performers welcoming a government guest to Queens hotel in Kandy.
The older Kandian dance class play volleyball over the garden fence until the senior class begins. Meanwhile the 2 Computer classes are going on indoors and Mangelica and I are babysttting for the mothers in the class and keeping an eye on the older kids playing ,and making rather lot of orange juice and tea and keeping Zigger away from the ginger biscuits.
Art and Music Class
Jayanga and Heshan in Art class making a fabric strip of local shops to go on a long banner we are making to depict the Hikkaduwa Vesak Perehera- festive procession.

And newcomers to the music keyboard class catch up with the theory work before learning the scales on the keyboards.

In the garden
The monitor lizard outside the front door and VALY the " outside dog " appeals for rice and curry .

The VESAK festival.   Rassica and wife Mutu with 3 month old Tarindi treated me to an outing to see the range of Pandels - huge outdoor light displays depicting the life of Buddha where there is a festive atmosphere with fairground stalls and  free food . the displays go on for several days

Hikkaduwa had a Perehera ( procession of dancers , performers and elephants)  to celebrate Vesak. Adults and children from different organisations paraded in the midst of  cars, buses and tuk tuks along the Galle Rd 

One of the dancers catches sight of Zigger and soon he is surrounded by dancers.
Then the elephant swings his trunk to Zigger who retreats behind the woodcarvers front door.

 Vesak Lanterns.All the tiny pottery oil
lamps in the forests were really magical.

So that's the news from Sura Medura. I am so pleased to report that all the classes we set out to create and the environments and equipment for them are just about in place. Of course I want to do more -so much more could be done and Im specially pleased that we are reaching the people who cant afford private classes and especially because they are clearly so happy to be here and their confidence grows by the week.  I'm  working one hour a week with a severely handicapped 5 year old with cerebral palsy and hoping to add some fun and stimulation to her restricted life.  Discussions continue with the Psychology department at the teaching hospital and I will be looking for more funding to host parent seminars in the Autumn. The climate means that pens run dry and paper gets damp and mould grows on anything it can get a grip on and the heat is tiring and a storm stops everything .Cleaning is non stop  to keep the insects inside the jungle and out of the house!  So working with the climate and the environment is crucial. I am on a rapid learning curve!  My 69th birthday last week was a bit of a time to take stock and hopefully learning to rest and not work too hard is a good objective for the next few months. 
Below are some pictures of the accommodation on the first floor that we hope to let to fund the work here . Many many thanks for all your support - Keep it coming ~!
Love from Eddi and Zigger
Sura Medura Accommodation
is in a renovated 150 year old Colonial style building in spacious grounds. 

( above) the beautiful main double room .
The single room has canopied nets. There is also a 2 or 3 bedded family room opening into the fully equipped kitchen/dining area.
Fans and mosquito nets througout, free Wifi, housekeeping every second day full use of porch on ground floor, security guard,
PLUS ---monkeys in the coconut palms and mango trees outside the window, monitor lizard, many birds singing, coconut palms, terrapin in the well, tortoise in the backyard and Valy and of course Zigger! Who could want more-- and all the income goes to support the work of Sura Medura.
Very reasonable tarrif includes welcome groceries and the house is no more than 5 minutes from the ocean on the quiet side of the Galle Rd in the " Jungle" Special relationship with Sunbeach ocean front hotel for meals and excursions. The Accommodation is let by the room or as a self contained apartment. 
Come and enjoy a superb holiday in Sri Lanka - the pearl of the Indian Ocean.