Tour day #1
Doesn't start until dinner so spent the evening relaxing by the pool and getting a tan.
17 November 2016
Again my afternoon project was MH Gorkana. This time the arts and crafts theme was self portraits in the style of Picasso which didn't go down as well as anticipated as many of the clients finished really quickly and we had to improvise by making origami flowers.
The packed bus back has become routine now!!
On Sunday the weather was terrible! It rained non-stop until about 3. Just as we were leaving for H/B. I managed to do a bit of souvenir shopping but we spent most of the day in the hotel room relaxing as there was nothing else much to do.
Today I didn't have projects all day. Instead I went on a field trip to Ratanapura Hospital to shadow a psychiatrist....
Instead of projects this morning, I went to a meditation and creative therapy workshop. Although the creative therapy part was more drama therapy and was extremely controversial. Techniques were demonstrated that I definitely would not put into clinical practice. However the mediation section was very interesting although I found it hard to switch off and relax.
We were then dropped back to our afternoon projects. Colombo traffic was insane and was grid locked most of the time. I ended up being the first to be dropped off at projects although my project started the latest. I was there an hour and a half early!! Good job I had taken my book with me!
The project was C SOS where they had a written test. It was quite difficult to get them all to sit and concentrate on the test and not talk.
Again my afternoon project was MH Gorkana. This time I was on games instead of arts and crafts. One the clients refreshed my memory of how to play chess. Although I'm still not very good! We played various cards games such as UNO and the memory game. Again it was time for the dreaded bus journey back.
Karen and Piumi joined us for dinner.
We spent the rest of Sunday relaxing on the beach before we had to head back to H/B for dinner.
In the evening we had our social. The theme this week was 'music and tea'. An odd theme I know. We basically spent the evening drinking tea and being split up into groups to play the music intros game from the Never Mind The Buzzcocks TV show. It was kind of fun but not really my cup of tea. Excuse the pun.
Today was our first project planning session where we were given our projects for the week and had to plan activities to run in each session. Chaotic doesn't even begin to describe project planning!
We started with a Sinhala lesson and then projects were called out. After that people just start shouting out the project name so you can find who is in your group and plan.
The afternoon project was MH Gorkana which was great! We made a forest by painting trees and using pom poms and buttons as leaves. The clients really enjoyed it. The bus back from Gorkana was not enjoyable! Apparently this bus is always rammed at 5pm. However we stopped off at JuiceWorld in Panadura on the way home. I got a banana milkshake and it was so good! It definitely made up for the horrible bus journey.
6 November 2016
Weather not great - raining again.
Me, Leah and izzy went to tsunami museum and then turtle sanctuary
Had to get bus back earlier to get to the homestay before my car. Repackage bags.
Car picked me up for Udita's and took me to airport. Security was fine and the flight was good. Had a whole row to myself and managed to sleep a little
5 November 2016
Picked up at 5.30am. Saw quite a few elephants around park. One walked right up to the truck. Bought souvenir hats.
Drive to Hikkaduwa. Last dinner with Molly, Leah, cat, izzy.
4 November 2016
Morning project SN Pokkanuwita - boat origami - bit naff
Packed bags and said goodbye. Waited for mini bus. Drove to Udawalawe - Happy Elephant resort. Asked if we wanted some cocoa. We all assumed hot choc, instead got a coconut. Spent the evening playing heads up
2 November 2016
McDonald's - chicken Big Mac was a let down - mayo and not Big Mac sauce! Dropped gherkin on certificate
Molly had arranged for me to have dinner at Udita's homestay. On the bus ride home Leah told me we were going to get blessed by a monk when I arrived which was really exciting. We had dinner when everyone got back and there was loads as it was the last that all of that homestay would be together as Hannah, Jess and Katherine were leaving that weekend too.
We walked to the temple just down from my homestay and met Dayani. It started to spit which gave a really nice atmosphere. We placed flowers at a shrine and lit incense. We then went and met the monk who spoke a few words while tying a string around our wrists.
Afterwards we end back to Udita's for photos and chocolate cake!
30 October 2016
Travelled down to Unawatuna. Spent the afternoon on beach. Evening - English food and party at Kingfishers
28 October 2016
SN Royal College
Colombo in the evening. ON14 roof top bar. Hangover Hostel Halloween party
27 October 2016
Skipped halloween social
23 October 2016
For breakfast, Molly lead us on a hike around Mirissa to find this cafe that did great western breakfasts. We also had sweet chocolate roti which were so good but I never found again!
After breakfast we got a Tuk Tuk to Unawatuna which is a beach slightly further up the coast than Mirissa. We stayed at the Kahuna Resort which was beautiful. All the rooms were little huts! We spent the afternoon on the beach relaxing.
In the evening we went for dinner on the beach and most of us headed back to bed early as we wanted to be up early to spend the most of Sunday on the beach.
22 October 2016
So my morning project at SN Royal College had been cancelled and so I was moved onto SN Pokkanuwita with Ally. Jess and Charlie already had a plan for the session that involved making our own paint using milk powder, water and food colouring and then getting the children to draw/paint their own hands. This was a cool craft however it didn't work that well as children only made one paint colour each. We only have a morning project on Friday's so I was finished for the weekend by 10.30am!
After everyone had finished projects for the day we headed down to Mirissa for the evening. The bus journey down was much longer than I anticipated and we didn't get there until around 6. The hotel was nice enough for £6. We went to dinner at a really nice restaurant called 'Zephyr's' that did amazing carbonara! The only issues was we sat outside and it kept raining so we would run for shelter every now and again. After food we went to a couple of bars along the beach.
16 October 2016
Finally Friday! In the morning we had another workshop on teaching English. In the afternoon it was time to head off to the jungle! However our mini bus broke down in the middle of the busiest street I have ever seen and took 20 mins to fix. Finally we were on our way. The journey took at least 4 hours! We had dinner in the jungle and then just chilled in the evening.
When we went back to the room all the beds were so damp and gross so I hardly slept at all!
This morning we had a visit to a special needs class in Bandaragama which was so much fun! We made paper plate faces as the children had been learning about emotions and it being mental health awareness week.
Again we went to the roti shop for lunch.
We had another talk in the afternoon and went back to Anil's before our area social. We watched the Lion King!
Today was our first day visiting projects. Ally and I went to Kobawata for a youth teaching project. The bus trip there was an experience to say the least. We travelled right up into the mountains. The class was mainly girls, some of whom had good knowledge of English. Towards the end of the session worksheets were given out where we then went round helping students who had questions as they were not familiar with some of the words. I definitely struggled with the heat this day.
We stopped at the roti shop for lunch where I had my first barata.
In the afternoon we went to the Maharagama office for a workshop on working with special needs which was interesting but the room was cramped and uncomfortable.
In the evening we attended a lecture on psychosocial factors in somatoform disorders. I thought this would be really interesting but the lecture was pretty basic so a bit of a let down. However we went to Pizza Hut for dinner! A medium pizza and garlic bread only cost £4!
Orientation day. We spent the day at a hotel with AC!! 😱 just going over what the placement would involve, the types of projects and even had a basic Sinhala lesson.
Thank you = Esthuti
Good = Hodai
Beautiful = Lassani
Tasty = Rasai
Arrived at Colombo airport just before 9am Monday morning. We were met by SLV nationals who took us to mini buses that would take us to the homestay. I still can't get over how cramped they were. 16 of us in what should be a 7 seater! 😂 I dozed on and off for the trip down to Weedagama where we were met by coordinators who showed us our homestay's. We napped and then went for lunch at the roti shop. This was my first experience of Sri Lankan roti. The veg roti was a bit spicy for me. In the evening we went and watched the sun set over a lake and were joined by a herd of buffalo.
Later we went back to Anil's for dinner which was really nice. Curry and rice but not too spicy.
On the Sunday we started off the day with a trek into the jungle, following the river. The weather was really hot which didn't make the start of the trek too pleasant, especially when climbing up hills in pretty uneven ground.
Once we reached the top of the trek we went coasteering (basically jumping off of rock ledges into a pool of water). We started with a small jump into a small pool and then onto a rock slide where we were pushed down a rock face backwards which was pretty uncomfortable. After that were 2 bigger rock jumps. This was definitely the best part the day. The jumps looked a lot higher when you were at the top.
We trekked back and after lunch it was time to get the mini bus back to H/B in time for dinner back at the homestay.
15 October 2016
Our first full day in the jungle. Breakfast was a nice change from the homestay. We actually had toast along with fried eggs and sausages not just bread!
After breakfast we piled into the back of an open top truck to take us to the rafting centre.
The white water rafting was so much fun! I was toward the front of the raft so the drops were pretty.l steep for me. I nearly fell off the raft at one point but managed to hold on thanks to the foot straps and pull myself back up. After the Rapids we all jumped into the stream which was nice and refreshing.
In the afternoon we had team building sessions which were as good as team building could be. We had to come up with a group Hakka and do various trust experiences and group exercise.
In the evening we had a BBQ and a disco.