Visit to Ocean Stars, Trincomalee, December 2012

During our three week holiday, we visited the Ocean Stars nursery school in Vellaimanal on 18 December. We also briefly visited the family I sponsor.

OceanStars :: Sunday 24th March 2013 :: This Story

naomi-trip-report.pngWe had a little trouble contacting Janabdeen because his texts to me came through as unintelligible, but once Dilanee had contacted him, he called and made arrangements. He collected us from the hotel around 8.30am on 18 December and drove us to the school.

The school was basic, but nicely painted and has a good outdoor play area. We hadn’t realised before we went that it was already the Christmas holidays and the children and teachers had assembled especially for us. We are very grateful that they made this effort and about 18 children were there. The children were very well behaved and beautifully turned out. The children sang us a welcome song and gave us each a shell necklace. They each stood and said their names. We were told that the children were aged 7, but they seemed younger than that and didn’t know much English. Unfortunately, the teachers did not speak English either, so we only had Janabdeen to translate. However, we had taken a book with photos of East Anglia so we were able to show the children where we lived and where I had grown up and we drew a map on the board of England and where Sri Lanka was. We also read some of the Hungry Catepillar. I think a previous group had taken this book as the children knew quite a lot of it. We had taken an instant camera with us, so we went outside and took photos of the children and were able to give each of them a photo to keep. They seemed to enjoy this. From what we could tell the school plays an important part in the community.

We then went to visit the family I sponsor. It was not clear if they knew (before that morning) that we were going to visit or not, but they received us warmly and gave us a drink and biscuits. They live in a new house built by the Lions Club, but did not seem to have much furniture. Samina was very shy and after shaking hands she disappeared. Again we had to rely on Janabdeen to translate. If I’m honest, the visit was a bit awkward and while it was nice for me to see meet the girl I sponsor, perhaps it was uncomfortable for them (I hope not – it would be interesting to hear what they thought).

Janabdeen took us to his home where we met his wife and children and we had lunch. On the way he took us to Marble Beach – somewhere we would never have known about otherwise. It was really nice to go to someone’s home and share a meal, and this was probably one of the highlights of our trip. They were very welcoming and the food was fantastic, though we found it a bit odd that his wife did not eat with us.

On 19 December, Janabdeen collected us and took us to Lover’s Leap and the Hindu temple. He then drove us up the coast a bit to Niveli and Uppuveli. Not much was open because it was out of season, but it was good to see this beautiful area and we stopped for lunch at a place he knew. It would be nice to visit the area when it is not monsoon season.

Janabdeen was fantastic. He seemed a bit reserved at first, but seemed to warm to us more after we had visited his house. We could not have done any of the things we did without him. He is very professional and helpful.

Dilanee very kindly booked the Welcombe Hotel for us in Trincomalee. I think we would have been a bit stuck finding a good hotel otherwise as it was out of season. Sadhu met us at the airport when we first arrived. He was very welcoming and presented us with flower garlands and stopped on the way to buy us coconuts (to drink). We got in touch with him at the end of the trip and he came and collected us from Talpe and took us to Negombo where we stayed before the flight home.