Working visit 2018

This working visit is dedicated to the opening of our fourth home in Ja-Ela.
We, our chairman Sjaak de Looff and his wife, our secretary Tanja Uitterhoeve, our board member Elsbeth Sanderse and Willemien Keizer (widow of our former secretary Dick Keizer), left on Wednesday, January 10th 2018. Unfortunately our treasurer Theo Schouwenaar cannot accompany us due to his illness. (By the way, all travel costs are paid by ourselves). After a good journey we were picked up at the airport by Sister Amatha. How nice to see her again.
Elsbeth and Tanja are staying in the home in Kelaniya and the others are staying in a hotel in Negombo. On the day of arrival we took it easy.
On Friday 12th of January we went to the new children’s home in Ja-Ela. Of course we have seen a lot of pictures of the progress of the construction, but to see the real thing is quite different.
It has turned out to be beautiful! Inside it looks wonderful too. As in the other homes, everything is tiled here, there are ceilings everywhere and there are showers and toilets. There are roof tiles on the roof.
The home has a sleeping loft, where 14 girls can sleep. There is a kitchen with a dining room. They also have a chapel, where the library is also situated, and where there is room to study.
There are 3 bedrooms for 2. They are for the sisters and they can also be used when girls are sick. There is no electricity yet. Sister Amatha hopes that this will be solved before the opening. As long as there is no electricity, they can not live there. Outside, they have even put plants in pots and plants in the garden. That looks quite nice.
We are all rather moved. How nice that we were able to help with this project, so that more children can be taken care of.
We discuss with sister Amatha what is still needed for the new home.
They do not have a washing machine, refrigerator, gas cooker, television set and all kinds of other practical things such as cleaning utensils, pans and dishes. We are going to shop with sister Amatha and one of the oldest girls. Fortunately, we have brought funds for this. How nice to be able to do this together. Our chairman negotiates nice discounts with the store-managers. After all, it is for a good cause!
Everything will be delivered the next day, so that it wil all be installed on the day of the opening.
It was a tiring, but nice and rather special day.
On Saturday we visited our home in Pamunugama.
We are warmly received. How wonderful to see the children and the sisters again. After having looked around a bit, we enjoy a delicious lunch together with the children. Sister Sarah can cook deliciously. The opening of the home will be on Sunday at 10 am. Sister Amatha wants everything to be a surprise for us.
Exciting! When we arrive we have to wait for a while and then we may go through the entrance together with the bishop. They have decorated it nicely  with red, white and blue balloons. We are welcomed by the children, who have all put on their most beautiful dress! We are presented with a beautiful garland to put around our neck and a flower in our hand. First of all, a fire is made and a bowl of milk is cooked. When the milk boils, the opening may commence. That is a tradition of this particular region.
The bishop hoists the flag of Sri Lanka and our president hoists the Dutch flag. The children sing the national anthem of Sri Lanka. Beautiful!
Then the bishop cuts the ribbon and our chairman cuts the ribbon of the plaque on the wall. We all go inside. There the bishop holds a speech and he blesses the building. Our chairman also says some words on behalf of the board. Sister Amatha translates it for the children and other attendees who can not understand English.
The secretary offers a nice book about the Netherlands to Sister Amatha.
Together with the bishop we view the beautiful home. All purchases have been delivered and installed. Fortunately there is electricity now, so the fans can run. In the dining room everyone is offered rice with several curry ‘s.
There is also a delicious cake. It’s really a feast!
After this we plant palms. Each board member plants a palm. The three board members present plant a palm on behalf of the treasurer. Hopefully the palmtrees will grow well and bear fruit, so that many coconuts can be harvested.
It was very special to experience this opening. The children will de coming to the home next weekend. We wish them all a happy and enjoyable time.
We also pay a visit to the home in Katupotha. That is about a 3 hours drive. But we enjoy the ride and everything we see and encounter on the way.
The children are very happy to see us. They have made beautiful floral wreaths for us!
After tea the children give us a tour of the home and the garden. It looks neat. We also look at the location where the water drilling took place last year. This was necessary because there was no water. The well is still empty, but fortunately they still have water now because of the drilling.
Then the children wanted to sing and dance for us. We sang a few Dutch songs for them (including “Vader Jacob” in canon!). They liked that very much.
After the delicious and enjoyable lunch we talked with the sisters. Then it was time to go home. It was a very pleasant day!
Thursday is going to be our last day here. We still want to buy some items that we can sell in the Netherlands on the summer markets and during our PowerPoint presentations.
Today is sister Amatha’s birthday. We are going to celebrate this with the children and sisters in Kelaniya. The mother of sister Amatha and her brother and his family are also there.
It is also our farewell party. The children have rehearsed several dances. We are asked to join in for the last dance. The children really love it! Then we all sit down for the meal. We all sing for sister Amatha and of course we sing our Dutch bithday songs: “Lang zal ze leven!” and “Er is er één jarig”!
It was a very pleasant and cheerful farewell party.
And then the moment arrives that we really have to say goodbye to the children and the sisters ……… that is always a rather emotional moment every time!
But hopefully we will see them again next year!
We enjoyed our working visit very much. It was nice to be able to talk to sister Amatha and the sisters about all kinds of things.
After a good flight we landed safely in the cold, barren Netherlands!
Hopefully we can continue to do this work, with your help, for a long time to come! 

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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