Trip report 2022 (autumn)

It was great to be back in Sri Lanka. It was Autumn 2022. 
I was curious how the situation would be after the bankruptcy of Sri Lanka. I saw that life was very expensive.
It is getting harder and harder to get by everyday.
This time I didn’t have to unpack the boxes and repack again as I had done this last May. 
So immediately I could start to go to the schools with Nishantha. He hired a car when was needed and this was cheaper than going by tuk tuk.

The first week we visited  2 schools which we gave all the given hockey items from Holland.

The schools couldn’t believe their eyes. The first school went from 8 hockey sticks to 50 hockey sticks with training outfits and a keeper’s outfit. They were overwhelmed and they gave us each a bag with goodies. So sweet. 
This school had to wait a long time, because when we met first was during Corona time, then 1 year afterwards I had to cancel because of the lockdown so 2 years after our first meeting they  finally received the items.

The second school was a huge town school with 2000 girls and a PE teacher who really wanted to set up hockey. They already selected the pupils but there was no equipment. So, we stepped in there. There was a show, lovely food and parents assembled together in the hall to say thank you. My friend asked me to give a guest lesson on English which I did. It was fun but also hard as those pupils don’t speak very often English at school.

We met up with Mr. Mahinda, an educational officer, who brought us to a school where he promised the school that I would provide a library ( which he had seen but then given by Robin Handleman). I told Mr. Mahinda that I only would come for an half hour to meet up and to have a look at the situation but what happened next Nishantha and I did not expect at all. There was a huge show, all the teachers were there as well as the parents. In the speeches the pupils said a thank you to me for giving them a library. We’re in shock. I did not promise this at all. It was somehow a bit embarrassing situation. They thought I would pay the carpets, tables, chairs, bookcases etc. I told them I will only pay the books. Ouch!

In the meantime, there was another school waiting too long for us. The children had to wait 2 hours for us as what happened at the other school. Those situations are not so good. The flowers looked sad but their show was fantastic. They got English books and I looked at their new English activity room. After a lovely meal and a great present, we left.

I collect warmer clothing for the mountains where we finally could go to.  It was a rainy and cold day and I  wore 3 layers to keep a bit warm. I visited a nursery school where I still could see the stuff from 4 years ago. We went to several places to hand out warm clothes. It was great to see how the Children ran behind the car through the rain. They knew something was going to happen. I was humbled by this experience. So poor but so happy.  They asked for jackets and chocolate but those 2 we did not have with us. We had clothes and baby toys.

Afterwards Nishantha hired a car again and we went to the  east and from the   east back to  the west to visit several schools. I revisited a nursery school where I had not been for 5 years. It was great to see that the  water project which Nishantha sat up with the parents during Corona time. Now there is a water system in place and the children/teachers can wash their hands, flush the toilets, have tea and water the plants. We were invited to have dinner at the teacher’s house. Which we did and that was so great to be with her mother and  her son.

Near Negombo we went to a concert of a richer nursery. Normally I won’t do this but I was the advertisement of their school ( a white skin) Of course I needed to speech again and as a early childhood teacher I told the parents how important it is for children to play.

The last schools we visited , were 2 nurseries near Desiree’s home.

Afterwards 1 day rest and I left to go back to the  cold Dutch weather. 

Natasja Lammers

Organizing hockey sticks