Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
16Trip End Oct 28, 2006
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I have perfected the art of using the very slow Internet connection here, I type out my blog in word and then when I log on I can cut and paste my entry in. Its also a very good idea to save regularly as the power here can cut out with out any warning, although at the moment its normally when there is a large rain storm. Its dried out since this morning and I think its not going to rain again tonight which is very handy as I have just done my washing and its on the line.
This afternoon I walked with another volunteer up the road to the local village, the walk was around 1km and most of it we spent diving in and out of storm drains to avoid on coming traffic
We were going to a shop that does photocopying so we could copy the handouts for today's English lesson, although its Poya day the children had asked us if we could have a lesson and we agreed. When we got to the village we found that off course the place was shut ( due to Poya day ) and started to walk back when we spotted a hardware shop. In my room there are 3 plug sockets, all are slightly different shapes (my travel adaptor only fits one) the lamp I have only fits the one furthest away from my bed (and further than the main light switch) we decided to ask if they sold extension leads and amazingly they did. I left the shop the proud and happy owner of a 5 metre 6 plug extension lead for the bargain price of 400 Rupees. It was then that I noticed we had lost Colin, prior to going into the hardware shop some local dogs had ganged up on him and scared him witless (he is a softy) and we had chased them off looking braver than we felt (many stray dogs have diseases including Rabies) we were worried they had come back for him and started calling his name and searching in bushes (much to the amazement and amusement of the locals) but to no avail. All the way back we called for him and looked up and down the road but could not see him, I was getting more and more worried and was thinking I would have to get a TukTuk back later to search for him, only to arrive back at MEF to find him sunbathing in the front yard. He is as I type asleep behind my chair none the worse for his adventure.
We got back about 10 minutes before the class was due to arrive, because of Poya Day we could not use the local school, as it's a Temple school run by Monks so we told the children to come to us. By 4.15 we had one child who decided she did not want to stay on her own so we have now finished classes till Monday.
The children are fantastic, they have very little compared to Western standards and the local school is one large room in a basic building with very little equipment other than wooden table and chairs. There is no black board and nothing on the walls and a small selection of toys and games (that look like they have seen better days) and a selection of donated books in one corner (again very old) Even so they are so enthusiastic about learning and if we are 5 minutes late they are in the road looking for us walking up from MEF. To be able to speak English will open up far more possibilities in working with the growing tourist market and although the classes are voluntary and well after there normal school day they attend willingly and love to learn what ever we can teach them.
Taking the register is a total scream as we don't always get there names right and this results in fits of laughter from them, overall they are amazing and teaching them is one of the highlights of my day and yet a very humbling experience at the same time.
The Monk has asked if one of us can teach the youngest children basic English from next week for an hour 3 days a week, I am going on Monday and have this weekend to work out some basic lessons. I have asked Mark to try and get me some flash cards from the early learning centre and until they arrive I shall be drawing and doing lots of pointing and repeating.
As a lot of you know I brought over a lot of school based equipment some of which I will be taking to the local school, however I have been advised there are schools with pupils from even poorer backgrounds than our local school and one of the MEF staff will be taking me to them over the next few weeks.
After all this typing I seemed to have forgotten Mr Karu again! I shall try to remember next time
Colin and I are going back to the volunteer accommodation shortly where I will be spending many happy hours turning my lamp plugged into the new extension lead on and off (its amazing how such a basic thing has made me so happy ) in fact its only been topped by finding a kettle in our kitchen so now I can hand wash in HOT water
Off to the Perahera tommorow so will update after that hopefully with pictures