Tripreport 2018 Natasja

When I arrived in Kandy I was delighted to see that all 141 boxes arrived at Amma’s place.
I paid for every box 7 euro 50 and knew there are nearly always problems at the customs. So i was so happy .
The first week, I had to unpack around 60 boxes which is more than enough for 1 year. Thank goodness Namasha was able to help me as she had no job at that moment. This took about 2 days.

The whole floor of Amma’s place was full with heaps of different kinds of toys.( e.g. dolls, games, cuddles, construction, jigsaws, clothes, babytoys, art, cars etc.)
Then after those 2 days we were busy to sort out every heap. For example the pile of games needed to be sorted out in memory games, domino games, counting games etc.
The clothes had to be checked if they were oke. Clean, zips, buttons etc and afterwards Namasha sorted them in boys, girls, or adult clothes.
This part takes normally a long time.
We went to town , to buy for all schools ( around 15) art materials such as glue, rubbers, pencils, paint, felttips , flashcards, scissors etc. Whatever I can find that year.
Then the big bags will be filled again according to the schools the bags will be given to.
By that time I know how many nursery, primary or homes I will visit.
So all together the first week is used to unpack, sort out, buy and pack again.

Every school will get bags for 3 years.
The 3rd and last time we give normally a special present like knexx, lego or sticklebricks.
We will also check is the materials are looked after ( cleaned) and if the teachers understood the games.
In the meantime the volunteers, Kanchana, Chitranganie, and Gamini will organise the trips with Ravi, my driver. We need to visit at least 3 schools per day as the petrol is getting more and more expensive over the last few years.
Nurseries finish at 11.30 and primary schools at 1.00 or 1.30. So we need to get up early

Besides schools we visited an area called Mahaoya for the second time. Last year we gave solar panels as this area has no electricity ( the new government stopped what the former government had started).
It is a very hot and dry area.
This year I wanted to see for myself it the solar panel project was a succes.
And .. it was an great succes. The people were so happy to show us their 1 lightbulb.

When we asked what they really wanted this year thet said :FOOD.
This is a difficult one. Because once y give food they hope y will give it the months afterwards as well.

We decided we would give a box with food for the 12 families ( chosen by the chief) as an extra. Kanchana filled the boxes with many items such as: sugar, lentils, flour, crackers, biscuits, tea, and milkpowder.
Afterwards me and Kanchana ( she is in charge of this project) wanted to see the village with the solar panels. With another chief we started to walk down a sandy road. Ravi had to stay behind at the first “house”with the van as he could not drive in this area. We didnt know that the houses were far away from eachother so we walked for more then 3 hours. Poor Ravi had to wait for a long time.
Like I mentioned above, the families were very happy to see us and invited us in their hut/house.
They offered us coconut drinks. I felt very humble.

Another new project was a school right in the centre of Kandy. I thought there would be no schools left , poor enough , in Kandy but I was wrong.
Amma knew this place. It is a school for homeless kids. They asked for new uniforms, 18 in total.
We were expected to arrive early in the morning so we could see the beginning of the day.
The children arrived around 7.15 and they had to undress . There own clothes are washed at school and then they have a bodywash and need to brush their teeth. The infant children get a bit of help of a lady who is employed by the school.
Then we helped the children to get dressed in their new uniform. The children and teachers were so happy with the given toys .
Good to see and a wonderfull end to a fantastic working holiday.

Natasja Lammers