Team 14 is up and running!
The volunteers started to arrive on Saturday – some traveling on their way here – all excited to get started. Sunday we visited the worksites and met the families and children we would be spending time with. The return to the orphanage meant a great deal to the volunteers and the children who were all dressed up to greet us. Throughout the day we had visits with a number of the students in TRIP Canada’s education program.
Monday – up for an early breakfast and the team divided into three groups for different worksites – and three new family homes.
“Team Don” travelled to Thigoda at 7:30 to work at the home furthest away. When they had the opportunity to see how the family is living now they knew their time was going to be well spent. After meeting the family, Anura, Nilmini, Tamali (15) and Ishan (12) they set to work learning the fine art of plastering and Sri Lanka style house painting.
Stacie was a great coach for Kelly, Janet and Jim as they learned to “parge”. Hilary loved being back at it and fearless leader Don only hit his head once. People had just as much fun painting each other as they did the walls and Jim had only one minor “parge attack.”
“Team Am” met Jagathe, Nishanthi, Hiruni (15), Ravindu (11) and Thavindu (2). On the walls of their old home Jagathe showed how the flood waters came almost to the roof of his house. Then they went down the road to the site of the new family home where they would be starting from the foundation.
According to Buddhist tradition there are certain hours of the day that you are not supposed to start something new. Nine o’clock was a special time so, although they were very anxious to go, the team could not start building the new walls until after the hour passed. Ron and Am are old hands at this so started moving the stacks of bricks giving teammates Kelly, Gretchen and Chris an opportunity to learn a new skill.
Working alongside the volunteers are a number of the local labourers who helped build Ketakalawatta in 2005 after the tsunami. They are thrilled to have us back – Senevi and Kal are wonderful teachers and the brick layers caught on quickly.
It was a long, hot day but much was accomplished and the walls were at least 6′ tall by the end of the day – maybe 8′. Lots to celebrate with new friends!
The house where “Team Bruce” (or BT and the Girls) is working, is part of a family community with multiple generations, lovely children running around and lots of dogs! Manjula, Anusha, Lasith (17) and Kavindu (2), will behapp y to move to their new home.
Susan, Deborah, Stephanie, Bruce, Coleen and Terry’s task for the day – laying cement on all the floors. This involves shovelling stones and sand, mixing in cement and then creating a chain gang to pass buckets through the house to the room we are working on. Staring with the kitchen the team pressed on taking turns at the different tasks.
While they had time for a breaks with nice cups of tea and cookies, lunch and also time to play with the children, they worked so hard that they finished early at 2pm. Wonderful local workers to help and teach – a great team effort!!
Everyone happy to get back to our new home at Moonstone, jump in the pool or the ocean and share stories of their first day. All wondered at how happy these Sri Lankan people are with so little. We are all truly blessed.