Trip report 2021 (Autumn)

I was so happy to be able to go back to Sri Lanka after 2 years of absence. Ingrid was with me. Finally! After 2 nights in a quarantine hotel (with 150 men from India) we could go to Ramani. We would stay there until we each independently returned to the Netherlands.
We would empty the boxes together and pack again but this time well organized. All cars, books, creation, construction, dolls etc., each in its own box.

Many boxes had been in Sri Lanka for more than 5 years and I put everything in there because I did not have to pay for sending it to Sri Lanka. Because now I have to pay I am more careful with what I put in a box. 
I knew it would be a lot of work. Normally I unpack 60 boxes a year and now 170 boxes and then in one go.
I also wanted to sit down with the volunteers to see what had been done and what we can do during the pandemic. Finally, I wanted to see all my friends and catch up.

All this had to take place in two and a half weeks. There was a tight schedule but then something happened that no one could have imagined, Ingrid got sick and could not help anymore. Help, what now?

I bought some food (apple juice, cheese spread, crackers and cookies) and planned to work through and through. The first day, help came unexpectedly. A cousin of Nishantha came to help. The second day I was alone and on the third day Lesley (a friend) and another member of Nishantha’s family came to help. That was a productive day and by the end all 170 boxes had been emptied. So, I worked from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A few day’s later everything was packed again. Cars with cars and so everything was sorted and cleaned up. Of course, there were also things that could be given to the schools right away.

After a week, Ingrid was well enough to take the 300 puzzles out of the boxes while sitting. Cut out the sample and put it in a cloth or plastic bag. Here she was helped by Amma, Nishantha’s mother. Sometimes I would take a day off and go to a hotel for some food and a swim. Lesley and Ralph took me to a beautiful hotel with a beautiful view. I also went to eat at Kanchana and Nishantha. On all other days, my food was ready at Ramani and Henk where Ingrid and I stayed. 

We visited a secondary school where they are specialized in giving hockey lessons and that is exactly what we were looking for our Hockey project. So fantastic to see.

Nishantha also worked extremely hard. Besides carrying the 170 boxes to his house (quite heavy), he helped clean up all the cardboard. He had to check if some puzzles were complete and put plastic wrap over open puzzles. Unfortunately, I could not finish everything and Nishantha had to work one more day with his mother (82) to get everything back on track.
There are now 120 boxes left and let us hope that I can go to Sri Lanka in April 2022.
On to next year!

Some pictures from the trip