Day 8 – Blog by Amalie Bruun

Time being an imperfect science here in Sri Lanka, we were thrilled to arrive at the site and see a massive backhoe digging out the rear side of the building …. albeit three work days late. Poya Day fell in the middle of that – which didn’t help matters as NOTHING happens on Poya (Full Moon) Day, a Buddhist holiday. The back of the building is now set for perhaps the biggest parging party TRIP has ever seen – about 140 feet of wall. And the snakes? We’re PRETTY sure they moved to a different patch of tall grass when the big machine started up.

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Other than that, today was a standard, full on work day with all cylinders firing on the painting and parging front. With a day and a half of work to go we’re really pushing ourselves and the guys to get as much completed as possible, the aim being to have rooms ready to be filled. 

Considering that we are working with a new group of local masons, we have had to start from the ground up on the “get to know you” front. It is one of the things I like the most about being here – developing a common language with the guys, despite our lack of Sinhalese and their lack of English. Learning a few key words goes a long way with them and tends to really crack them up. This group of guys is largely from Podi’s (our head mason’s) village of Beliatta, about 30 minutes away. And, as the site is not in Tangalle proper or our normal village of Palathaduwa, it has been an entirely new experience, especially for the returning volunteers. This group of workers is good at letting people learn and try new skills, even if it means more work for them. They realize we’re giving it our best shot. I wouldn’t say they were shy at first but, after they saw how keen we are, they have definitely come out of their shells.

This is also true of the kids. Walk near the fence that separates the site from the home and its daily activities and one will hear “Hello sister!” accompanied by a shy wave. Even the smallest of boys at 6, from a very tough home situation, is slowly starting to smile more and wave back if you wave hello at him. They have been working hard on art work for the new rooms as a way of saying thank you to their sponsors. Lunch, eaten on the grounds of the home, has become a great opportunity for us all to play games, laugh and remember why we are all here. The big hit today was “jumpsie” over a rope of elastic bands – and boy can they jump!

Another great night at Moonstone. We gather in the garden for a drink and talk about the day – always lots of laughs with good friends.

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