Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Mandur 2

Today, Julie, Keith and Heather went to Fleet Methodist’s twin Church at Mandur,  where we were deluged with lovely fresh garlands. I received eight in all! Julie ten and Keith about eight also. What a wonderful welcome.

We were expecting 33 children, but 36 turned up!

We followed the usual routine, welcome, read the story, did the hokey cocker , played with the parachute, coloured giraffe hats, had a group photograph taken with the Reverend, and then it was time to go home. It was very, very hot. Keith repaired two doors in the Manse, and had a ride on the Reverend’s motor bike.

We also presented the Fleet Methodist Church Group photograph, taken after Church on Harvest Festival, which was welcomed.

Pre school was held in the church, as the tiny room they have at present is too hot and small for their present needs. They will be better served with a new school room.

I was also pleased to see they have a lovely new ceiling in the church with good lighting. No more buckets scattered around the church catching rainwater.

The morning finished with a lovely lunch provided by the parents.  Thank you Mandur for your gracious hospitality.


Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Evening social

This afternoon we were able to share a small yet important amount of time with a group of families who have at least one parent who is deaf or deaf and no speech.
Hearing, Dilanee speak, with translation by Diana and then signed by a third person was incredible. These families have less than most and yet they demonstrated how the seemed to have closer bonds than many we had seen. The whole family played games together, some Dad's helping with craft work.
The atmosphere was remarkable and wonderful to be part of. Particularly striking was the perseverance that many showed at the tasks they were doing, determination and pleasure written all over their faces.  The quiet encouragement of parents of their children to do tasks but then becoming engaged themselves and finally the look of achievement was inspirational to witness.
My parting memory will be how much those there wished to repay kindness to them with a smile, a handshake and in the case of one father a loving hug and smile.
The evening was another rewarding experience, lovely company, lovely food , lovely families.



The visit started in traditional fashion being met at the gate with the most beautiful garlands made of fresh flowers.
Chris and Shahana soon got into the swing of things whilst I took pictures and tried to establish what the school might need. We had two wonderful translators and. A lovely lunch provided by the mums .
The children were aged between 21/2 to 6 a wide age range all well dressed with immaculate manners.
Some children were very tearful and were looked after well until able to cope and return.

We still very much see our own grandchildren in each of the children and feel very grateful for all we have had and perhaps thoughtful about what we have wasted when so many have so very little and really make the most of it. It seems that the less you have the more you appreciate.

Aidan and Chris


The morning started in an unexpected way, as the minibus could not manoeuvre over the mud on what was a very narrow road so we got out and walked the last 20 minutes, carrying all our resources. When we arrived we were treated with beautiful paper garlands. The children seemed comfortable with us very quickly and happily joined in the Hokey Cokey.  They loved seeing the pictures in the story books and were very pleased with the giraffe hats they made. One of the highlights of the morning was playing with a parachute and a beach ball, although the children were also very happy to sit under the parachute too. The children then created a beautiful collage which had taken pride of place on the wall.  It was a pleasure to tell the children that students from Heatherside Junior School has made them cards which they could take home. All the children were delighted. After the children went home, we were presented with a delicious lunch by the pre-school staff. It was such a special morning.


Thevilamunai pre school report

This preschool is situated in a remote paddy farming area outside Batticaloa. The preschool has no well or water supply, no electricity or toilet facilities. The average daily income of  a paddy worker is £2.50 per day but work is not always guaranteed. 

The children were very timid at the start of our session but soon warmed up once we began singing sings and introduced them to Gerald  the Giraffe who also featured in the story. The collage with jungle animals was a big hit and the children loved using natural resources from their garden to add texture to the picture. 

The children loved all the nursery rhymes that Christine taught them especially the one about the turtle who swallowed soap and then went into produce bubbles. Compared to yesterday’s pre school, their  English wasn’t so strong but they did pick things up very quickly and were eager to learn. All in all a very heart warming and pleasurable visit.

Shona, Christine and Heather

Shahana - Tuesday

Early start again - we left at 7.30 to get to the pre-school. Hidden away in a very rural area with huge rice fields being ploughed in all directions it was hard to find the school building . It was slightly comical as the driver stopped to ask a man ploughing the field who nodded animatedly towards the road we were on suggesting it was straight ahead. After another few moments the driver stopped again and asked a busy woman with some cattle and she gestured with her chin that we needed to keep going straight ahead. After a few wrong turns and a few more nods from random people suggesting different directions, a kind man on a motorbike guided us towards the school building we were looking for.

We were by now well practiced in engaging young children - smoothly moving from circle time into mask making. The children were very excited when we got out the huge parachute and made our giraffe puppet dance. It was lovely to see smiles in their faces. We carefully noted what improvements the school needed - a broken slide, holes in the floor and made sure we left them with useful colouring pencils and resources. We then unexpectedly found ourselves being driven to the village area on the beach that was devastated by the Tsunami over 12 years ago. Quite moving to see the walls of roofless buildings still empty. Small dwellings have been built on the beach front 


Monday, 23 October 2017


Julie and Kamran and myself (Emma) spent the day at Chenkalady with 40 children. We started the session with a circle time and then did our giraffe hats which brought the children a lot of enjoyment, along with bubbles and beach ball games! It was a lovely atmosphere with spirited children who despite the small space were patient and smiley the whole time.