Monday, 19 September 2011

August flies by and the new term begins

Hello from Sura Medura Arts Centre.
I began this blog in August and have only just finished it 3 weeks later so have added a paragraph to update it. There allways seem to be other things needing my attention !!
 I went on a 5 day tour with Brigitte, a friend from UK who was here for 3 weeks.
 One of the 80 elephants in the Kandy Perehera .Paraded through the streets surrounded by fire dancers and stick walkers and drummers and all manner of street performers. An amazing 3 hour spectacle superbly managed and organised despite scant attention to health and safety of the European variety! We had good view and enjoyed every minute of it.

Below the first woman wood carver in Sri Lanka - and very proud of this and of her 65 years of age. She was part of a demonstration of local crafts which included organic vegetable growing and metal working.

 More pictures of the torch lit procession as another elephant carries a man acting as one of the Kings of Kandy and telling the history of the ancient Kingdom.
 A young elephant waiting for his turn to get dressed up and join the parade in which the elephants danced to the drum beat.
Stilt walking fire spinners - the fire is attached to a cord which they swing with their necks!

So Ive had a lovely holiday in the central area of Sri Lanka visiting Kandy , Sigiriya and Dambulla and an elephant orphanage. Since returning Ive taken my visitor to several local attractions including a man who makes and sells cinnamon which is renowned as the best in the world and which the British shipped through India --keeping the original source a secret in case anyone got in on the trade from Sri Lanka.
The local tea factory man showed us how to make tea properly and introduced us to a wide variety of different teas.Silver tips - wonderful but costly !
Now Brigitte is due to return to Brighton  and I shall miss her as will Zigger. We left him while we were away for 5 days and returned to find him suffering from heat stroke - quite terrifying to see, but he recovered quickly. Now that my ankle is healed Ive been able to walk him again and go to the beach.
Classes are going ahead, though with reduced numbers as it is the school holidays and many families are visiting relatives and going on trips together. I am revising the timetable now as 2 volunteers begin in September and the art class at 18 is just too big for me to do well on my own. I'm planning a young women's  group and a junior art/ play group and the volunteers are running a 6 week camera class.
The second computer course is ending soon and people are now registering for the 3rd course. We are sticking to a basic skills course at the moment and attracting a range of ages and abilities. Perhaps the most satsifying is seeing the older women being so pleased to learn how to email their grown up children who work abroad- usually in Vietnam or South Korea, sending money back to Sri Lanka for the family.

Brigitte who is French took a conversation class for tuk tuk drivers to help them with the French tourists.
There are quite a few tourists on the street due to the European school holidays but we expect the area to go quiet again in September and the real season starts in December.
A generous donation from an individual means that all classes are now assured until mid January which is great news. Classes cost £200 a month and I have put aside money from the eddigoeseast appeal to cover us until January.
If you ever order goods online then do have a look at the web site and sign up, Whenever you order through that site a small donation is made to the charity of your choice as long as it is registered on that site - which of course eddigoeseast is !
they will send a monthly email telling you of the best deals from the participating companies.

Some of the 20 strong Junior Kandy dance class in the outside theatre we created.
September update.
Well ,the new term is in full swing and Brigitte has gone back to UK. It was great to have her here.
Unfortunately the 2 volunteers from Uk needed to return after a week so the camera class and play class have been postponed till a new volunteer arrives in October.  A new group of 20- 30 year old unemployed young women have begun my conversation class and are great fun. I am gradually introducing topics such as parenting as role plays, though of course it is slow going with limited English but I have a very good local helper.  The older women's group had 9 people on Monday morning and we were mostly taken up with tenses for going and coming which caused much amusement. . Art class made loads of fabric fishes to put on a collage to brighten up the computer room walls and played some ball games. 
Hope you are adjusting to the Autumn in Europe - wish I could send you some of our sunshine and heat though thankfully we have a had a few days with heavy rain which was sorely needed.  
Love and again many thanks for your support.
from Eddi and Zigger and Valy and all at Sura Medura.
Mutu and Tarindi with Eddi

Working out a floor puzzle
Sumud with Music teacher Prashad