Tuesday, 13 March 2012

First Anniversary :Babesia Gibsoni Flying Elephants and NEW MONEY!!!!!!

Dear Friends
This blog has been a long time in coming, begun in February and updated in March. My . reconditioned lap top, internet connection problems and being very busy are my main excuses apart from the fact that Im just not skilled at transferring pictures so I make lots of mistakes. !

First Anniversary Celebration
On Sunday afternoon, 15th January, the whole place was buzzing with activity. A day of events to celebrate a year of classes and activities at Sura Medura at which many games were played and all classes displayed their achievements .  The pictures in this blog are taken by the young camera class members who recorded the day. The opening ceremony was the lighting of a ceremonial lamp. Here the oldest user begins the lighting.


Sura Medura is a busy place
My intention 18 months ago was to have a fairly easy life, plenty of time for sitting by the sea, reading, learning French ,making rag mats, playing the keyboard, cooking adventurously and working half time in the centre.

Well, a leopard doesn't change it's spots and here I am busy every day in the Centre, guarding my 2 hour midday Siesta jealously and trying to keep my Thursday and Friday weekend for the aforementioned activities . Haven't read any fiction for ages, am learning Sinhala not French, making Poi balls not mats and thoroughly enj:oying all the activity . I did manage the oven enough to make  mincepies at Xmas. Due to Zigger's illness I havent seen much of the sea but will do so soon. 

seniour kandy dance group
 As I write it's dawn here and very peaceful though I can hear the ocean crashing on the shore about half a mile away and the non stop chirping pf the squirrels .A dog is howling somewhere, though not disturbing Zigger and Valy who are snoozing happily together on the porch.  
Not a peaceful night --Cats have taken advantage of the large hole in the corridor ceiling to come in to the house at night and create mayhem so I was up twice calming down an irate Zigger and chasing the cats out .

|And elephants might fly!
Manglelika , the housekeeper, and I wait for the man to repair the ceiling  and  the gate and the upstairs shower and the beds and  he promises to come and we say " elephants might fly " . We look up to see a small flock of elephants above, some half way to the earth and others so high as to be almost out of sight. Each represents at job waiting to be done.

The last 3 months have been full of the Xmas and New year activities and guests staying in the upstairs accommodation as it is has been high tourist season. Guests of many nationalities have included 3 members of Hullabaloo Community Quire from Brighton who brought news from home and much encouragement. All the rent goes into the project. It keeps me on my toes to organise the housekeeping and help out the visitors.
The biggest event for us was the First Anniversary Day
 The local people really pulled together to create a hugely successful event. Generous friends sent money for dance costumes and hiring a sound system and some tourists helped out with general organisation and runing silly games. 
The Ladies Tea class and the parents of the dance groups spent all Saturday decorating the whole place with flowers and balloons and making 2 dustbins fulls of orange juice and wrapping small prizes. 
Every child got a ticket at the gate to collect a prize so we know that 180 under 16s came with their  families as well as many adults like the Village officer and the stationery shop manager who brought 20 boxes of crayons and  many other shopkeepers and businesses we have used over the year. 
We reckon over 300 people in all and the atmosphere was great. 
Behind the scenes on Sunday children were being dressed for the dance displays and the camera class were busy recording the events.
These included a  Karem ( local board game) knock out competion; sticky bun eating ,Bat the rat , Stick the eye on the elephant and the Balloon dance  competitions. every competitor got a small prize and the overall winners got 2. 
Generous donations from friends in UK paid for the dance costumes and the overall cost of the day which was about £150. 
It was well worth it and showed the apprectiation for the project from the locals. We ended with a popular Sri Lankan comedy film with English subtitles. Must admit I took the opportunity to snatch half hours sleep during that.
Babesia Gibsoni
this is a very powerful tick parasite that local dogs have some immunity to but zigger has not. It is spread through the monkeys in the garden and he was extremely ill and the past month has been touch and go for him. You can imagine my anxiety. He had to undergo very painful treatments a holding down a pet while pain is inflicted has been one of my most difficult tasks.  Almost in despair we discovered a treatment imported from UK which is usually used on humans and it seems to have worked . I am overjoyed to see him walking again , even though he is quickly exhausted. Hes now eating and finished treatments and we await blood tests to see how quickly the parasite will leave his system. . March update --Blood test CLEAR !!!!!
The new term is up and running
Our February film night is KungFu Panda  and Im out soon to deliver posters to the small shops on the jungle side of the tracks to remind the audience of our next film which is all about a cricket team . Mmm!. might need extra seats for that one.
Camera class is being run by the woman who assisted Jenny , the volunteer who started the class last term and the music class now has 8 participants. Im looking for help with the 18 strong art class who run me ragged. I'm working with them on a themes from  Madol Doova -written by the esteemed local author  Martin Wickramasinghe. It's the adventures of 2 small boys who run away from home and make a farm on an island.  We are taking the class to visit the island near Wickramasinghes home where there is a small museum. 
The discarded water bottles which tourists leave at the gate each day are being slowly fillled with sand for our recycled garden bench project. The young ladies class are creating another Tele Drama, this time about a family of dogs,  and  the computer classes are full with ages 16 - 60. A local businessman has donated airconditioning for the computer room so we hope the computers and music keyboards will better resists the effects of humidity. 
Due to the devaluation of the Sri Lankan Rupee and the rise in oil prices many goods and services are more expensive. That has a caused a rise in all goods and electricity has gone up 40%, bus fares 20%  It's tough on the poorest whose salaries do not rise.
My monthly rent goes towards the core costs of the building and the host charity is  planning that rent from the tourist rooms and from artiist in residence programme will pay all core costs by the end of 2012. that. All the money from eddigoeseast goes to the classes and there are no admin fees as I pay my own way.  The classes cost £300 per month for all expenses. Around 150  people use the centre every week and we provide the expenses for 5 teachers and interpreters and all equipment.
Last month one of the young women got a job with the National Census, I think directly from improving her confidence in speaking English in the class here and Yusemi the 5 year old girl with cerebral policy was given a    wheelchair due to our music teachers fundraising efforts and encouragement from us. Her mother was hospitalized as a result of the strain of carrying the girl.

To remind you of other ways to help.
Use easyfundraising.org whenever you buy goods online and we get a percentage

Come and stay in our jungle side accommodation

Come and help for between 4 and 12 weeks. - 
 It would  cost you about £1200 including airfare and accommodation  and you have half the weak free for holidaying. All sorts of help are welcome.Right now I could do with someone whose a wiz at computing , a gardener and general maintenance person to take care of a few DIY jobs, painting walls and all sorts  I'll post the flexible voluteer scheme on the web site.

sticky bun eating

PS So thats my news at the moment except for the biggest most  exciting bit .
MONEY is COMING in !!!More about this next time but as a result of a friend sending out an email to many many contacts we are likley to have secured enough regular contributions to run the classes for the next 3 years at least! I cant begin to tell you how much this has reduced my anxiety levels and revitalised my enthusiasm and committment .
Thank you so much to all those of you who have increased your monthly contribution and to the new donors. All the money is going directly to the classes. Ive already made a volley ball court which has been enthusiastically used and is bringing in teenage boys who are not so keen on classes. Very exciting to see .  
a very tired and happy organising team at the end of the anniversary day
Mangelika Eddi Rasika and Sisera
A little more money  makes such a difference and I am planning a dressmaking class for next term as many people have asked for this.  At the moment I'm helping a local 23 year old seamstress Nilakshi to make lesson plans. I am actually a qualified neadlework teacher though not many people know that and some will be astonished to hear it.
I'm not much good at practical needlework but I do know remember the theory so Nilakshi and I will work together to create a good class which will both save money for the participants' own garments and maybe  increase chances of  employment..
So as always , THANKYOU for your support whether it be financial or emotional . Sometimes the latter  is vital to me and both are  much appreciated.

art group fabric banner

Music teacher,Prasad sings