Thursday, 1 August 2013

Eagle House August 2013

Triumphs and Troubles

Well my troubles with computers are , hopefully, over.  I sent a report by email earlier in the year but I intend to get back to this blog from now on, having spent my ticket money home on a new Mac which is proving wonderful. The 2 other laptops have succumbed to the climate and are mechanically useless.

So this post will be a quick review of recent months at Eagle House.
A wonderful event was  our participation in the Hikkaduwa Perehera .

This is the senior Kandian dance group in traditional costumes .

the junior group holding their twirling sticks made from deconstructed white plastic flour bags. Below are some of the parents making them. The mother is sitting on the original sink and cooking fire of the house before the facilities were moved into the kitchen

The youngest  class complete with woolly beards and moustaches ready for their umbrella dance. The youngest taking part in the 6 kilometre long Perehera parade was 4 years old......much to the disappointment of a couple of very small  3 year olds who we felt should not take part.

The Dancers set off at midday and got back at 8.30pm. the children were much less exhausted than the parents! I spent the afternoon ferrying bottles of water, elastoplasts and  boiled sweets between different points of the walk .. safe and relatively cool in a tuk yuk.  There were 11 elephants in the parade and the one following our dancers disgraced himself by uprooting a whole banana tree from a garden and weilding it around.  He had to be rested while the tree was removed from his trunk!

here is Zigger
waiting in the tuk tuk covered in wet cloths to keep him cool.

 Waiting for the elephant !
 Parents giving out the water. 
On the move again with the elephant behind the senior group 
Everyone was very proud of the dancers and I was very pleased at the input of parents in the preparations and the hard work of our dancing teacher Thushami, here with her son. 

Some pictures around the house

the communal washing place opposite Eagle house gate. The tree fell from behind this well right across the road bringing down the power lines and smashing our gate and the front of the house roof.

the lanterns the art group made for the Vesak festival.

music class with teacher Prasad

Pictures of Mangelika who is my right hand woman, cleaner, singhala translator , manager of all work, and good friend.
bringing in the harvest of King Coconuts from the garden.
Hanging the art work on the Shiney tree.
With Lal, a parent and tuk yuk driver fitting a new mosquito cover to our well from which we pump water into the house. On her birthday we visited the Japanese Peace temple near Galle. 

Some not so good events. 
That picture of Mangelika was earlier in the year before the tragedy of her eldest son Chaminde dying after his tuk tuk crashed . He was a lovely young man aged 29 who was always helpful to the project . For a few days we hoped he would recover and he was able to recognize his mother but the internal injuries were too great and he died on the Sri Lankan new year in April. Being part of the funeral and mourning rites was for me both an honour and very distressing. 

Tree falls on the house

 A very lucky escape. 
Early morning, about 6.0am  I went out to see the fallen trees on the road and the damage done by the storm. As I returned to the front door there was a horrendous noise of splitting wood and tearing metal as a huge tree crashed about a foot from me. Zigger was under the branches in the garden but came trotting out unharmed when I screamed!
A neighbour crawled through the fence to help and soon many people were helping , the tree was cut up and sold by the owner and the electricity and phone lines were repaired and my garden cleared by 3.0pm. 
The next day a temporary repair was made to the roof but I am still putting out buckets and mopping up water after rain. The owner of the tree has no money and Im not sure when we will get the gate replaced or the roof properly mended. 

Kaliana sweeping the garden, which she keeps clean and tends the flowers.

All the classes are going well including  my teaching at a local charity The Foundation of Goodness. There each week I work with a group of psychosocial workers. They tour the area visiting villages and orphanages working with groups and individuals of all ages on mental health issues.
The main topics of our work are depression, anger management and self esteem activities for children.
My work in Uk and my publications are proving very useful. It's slow teaching as my Sinhlala is not much good and so everything needs to be translated. Its quite a good way to teach as it forces me to consider each word carefully and gives time to think.

At Eagle house we have a routine now of classes over 4 days. Three dance classes, two computer classes for adults, art group, music and children's band, digital cameras class, sewing class for women, and English conversation. And every month we have a film night for families. 

As I write Lal is cleaning and bleaching the water tank and changing the gas cylinder. Mangelika is at her home preparing for a devil dance festival at the nearby small temple , Zigger is snoring under the bed and I will soon be walking him down to the beach as I do every evening. The last few months have been sometimes difficult health wise for both him and me but we are doing well now. My diet is very restricted but worth feeling well. Annoying that I can no longer eat the delicious fruit around me.

I so much value the contact with friends in UK who listen to my moans and take interest in all the activities here. Until October there will be few tourists and most cafes and shops will be closed. We plan to open two guest rooms, one with airconditioning and make a little money that way. Do come and visit !
Money is tight as the double rise in electricity prices has affected everything. So we are very grateful for your continuing support in whatever form. Hullaballoo Quire in Brighton is managing to consume plenty of cakes in the tea breaks to keep us going .
I am very pleased with the classes, and the peoples pleasure as they enjoy learning new skills is wonderful. The sewing class is beginning to create goods to sell and I'm hoping a small women's home working group will continue. But more of my plans for the future next blog.
So I hope you are enjoying your Summer. And I will be seeing you this time next year.

Much love
Eddi and Zigger.