Working visit 2015

Children’s home in Kelaniya: (the third home)
After a trouble-free journey we arrived at the home in Kelaniya around 5 o’clock in the morning.
We were very warmly welcomed by sister Amatha, sister Elisa and sister Chiara.
After we had done some catching up and had something to drink, we dove into our bed for a few hours.
Then when we awoke and after a refreshing shower, we met the children at lunchtime.
It is so nice to see them again. And how the girls have grown!

Click on the image for an enlargement   
The invitees and other guests now had the opportunity to admire
the new children’s home. The children gave us a guided tour,
and showed us their bedrooms, the kitchen, the library,
the showers, the playground etc. They are so happy with their
new home, their own bed and their own drawer in the cupboard
in their 4-person bedroom. We look back on this wonderful day
with a feeling of joy and gratitude.  Now there are 50 children
that have a safe shelter, with enough food, drink and clothing
and the possibility to enjoy an education.
What does a day in the children’s home look like:
The children are woken up around half past five. The older girls help the younger children with washing and dressing. They have breakfast together and then they go to school around 7 o’clock.
Around 2 pm they come home and take their school uniform off, take a refreshing shower and change clothes.
Then they have lunch together. They get a delicious meal of rice with curries and fruit.
Then the youngest children go to sleep for a while. The other children do their homework or have computer lessons and / or tutoring. Once a week a psychologist comes by to work with the children, to sing and to dance.
One day every week a teacher comes to give the children English class.
At 18.00 evening prayer is held, usually in the chapel. Dinner is at 8 pm. That is because Yasanthi must take her medication then. Yasanthi had surgery on her heart last summer. Fortunately, it is recovering rather well. This week she has started to go school again.
The children do the dishes together and they also sweep and clean the floor.  And then it’s bedtime!
Everything is done very orderly, and in good harmony. The sisters are very loving and relaxed with the children. There is a good, cozy atmosphere. Very nice!
This time we took  T-shirts, textile paint and various stamps with us. Together with the children we had great fun decorating the T-shirts. They enjoyed it very much.
It was a very enjoyable afternoon …. The results were really rather nice.
As you can see for yourselves in the photos.
On Sunday people from the village brought some food. They call this “Almsgiving”. This is a wonderful Buddhist custom. When they have something to celebrate, for example a birthday, it is customary to bring a meal or a cake or other goodies to people who are less fortunate and reaaly need it. It was very nice to experience this.
Together with two of the oldest girls and two sisters, we visited the Buddhist temple in the village. It is quite impressive to see how people, usually in white, walk around, pray and offer their sacrifices such as beautiful flowers or food. The sisters are not allowed to enter because you may not cover your head in the temple. And the sisters are not allowed to take off their headscarves. The girls, of course, can enter the temple with us.

This Sunday we went to church together with the children and the sisters. Mass begins in the morning at 7 o’clock. So we had to get out of bed pretty early!
It is rather special to experience this. After the mass the pastor came to have breakfast at the home and we met him and talked about all sorts of things. Very nice!

School visit:
We also visited a school. The older children were taking exams. We were warmly welcomed in this rather large school. It was a very pleasant visit.
The children really liked it that we were there and that we were filming  and taking pictures. Everyone wanted to be on the photo. When we were filming they all wanted to show us what they could do.
We walked back to the home in the pouring rain.
Back at home we played with the little children in the playroom and when the sun broke through again, we went outside and played tennis and other ball games together.

The children’s home in Pamunugama (the first home)

Sister Amatha had arranged a meeting with Archbishop Monseigneur Dr. Oswald Gomis.

We were very warmly welcomed and we had a nice pleasant conversation. After the meeting we visited the beautiful Basilica. Then we drove to our first children’s home in Pamunagama. Here we were also very warmly welcomed. They were very happy that we had decided to come.
The children took us on a tour of the home. At that moment they were rather busy with the maintenance of the garden.
Of course we asked them if they needed anything special and how the maintenance of the home itself was going. Sister Amatha has everything under control. Here the atmosphere wAs also pleasant and relaxed. Around noon they made a delicious lunch for us. How they are spoiling us! We ate together with the sisters and the girls. Then we talked a little bit together and also sang together! We had a very nice day.
The Mass:
On Sunday, we went to Mass again. Everything is beautifully decorated with flowers because it is the last Sunday of the ecclesiastical year.
Gifts are also collected for the poor and the people who come to bring gifts are all dressed in white. They give something because they have something to celebrate or in remembrance of a deceased person. We find this is an absolutely wonderful gesture!

Children’s home in Katupotha: (second home)
Of course we also paid a visit to our second home in Katupotha. On the way we bought some delicious mangoes for the homes.
The mango salesman was very happy that he could sell so much!
The girls and the sisters were already waiting for us. We were embraced and taken inside.
The tea was already ready. We talked to the sisters and they told us that their washing machine was broken. And that they still have one wish: a sewing machine, so that the girls who have sewing lessons can practice at home. We will discuss it in our next board meeting.
The children wanted to show us their bedrooms and the garden. They were very proud of their banana trees and pineapple plants! Elsbeth proudly poses with her own planted coconut tree. It has grown wery well!
Here too we experience an “Almsgiving”. A Buddhist family brought a meal. They also enjoyed making our acquaintance. Then the children, the sisters and the Buddhist family went to the chapel to pray and give thanks. Nice that this can be done together. Two different beliefs / religions in one chapel.
After the delicious lunch the girls showed us different dances. Even the sisters danced along. And then it was our turn. We all danced together until we could no longer. What fun we had!
Afterwards, the children made drawings for the children of the Beatrixschool in Goes. We had brought all kinds of handicrafts and drawings from the children in Goes. And they really liked that! We sang together and drank tea and then it was time to leave. We had a wonderful day with the children and the sisters. Two girls rode back with us, because they had to go to the dentist the next day. So that shows that they also attend to the teeth of the children!
Child protection:
The child protection services regularly visit and check out the homes.
The homes are bound to very strict requirements. After the last check they received a compliment that the homes functioned so well! They were also impressed by the fact that English classes are offered and that every week a psychologist comes to work with the children.
The sisters and children organized a big farewell party for us. With dance and music. They also decorated everything with red, white and blue balloons and even the Dutch flag flew cheerfully. The girls looked so beautiful. How they have done their best for us. They also enjoyed it very much. It was very moving. We were surprised with presents!
Our last day:
Our last day in Sri Lanka was also the last day of the exams of the older girls. The children all have Christmas holidays now. Some of the children were already busy decorating the Christmas tree. Christmas cards were also being made. Elsbeth and I wanted to do something for the children and quickly finish off the last crocheted flowers (brooches). We wanted to give them to the children that evening.
In the evening we had a big surprise! They had covered the tables nicely with white sheets, with candles. They wanted to celebrate Christmas together with us.
After a delicious last meal, the children perepare for the Christmas play.
We also received a Christmas bonnet and were taken to our seats.
The children were all dressed up in beautiful dresses (some sisters can sew pretty good!).
“Joseph” and “Mary”, the angels and the shepherds, they were all present, of course. Together they sing several Christmas carrols for us. So beautiful, so moving. A Christmas never to forget.
One of the girls thanked us for coming and asked if we had enjoyed it. Absolutely! We have had some wonderful weeks and we had also learned a lot. And had been able to see how life is in the homes, how they arrange and organize everything.
Finally there are very moving goodbyes to the children. We are going to miss them so much!
How nice it is that, with your help, we can do such wonderful work!!

Therefore, hereby a friendly request to continue to support us.
All your donations are tax-deductible because we have been classified as an acknowledged charitable organisation.
Thanks to our short lines, nothing sticks to the bow and your money will all end up on the children’s plate

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