Pre-trip Thoughts

The Ocean Stars Trust October 2011 Visit to Sri Lanka. Some comments from team members prior to departure

OceanStars :: Thursday 20th October 2011 :: This Story

Danny and Helena

Danny and I are setting off before the team this year. This fills me with conflicting emotions. Excitement at seeing the Elephant Sanctuary and some of the other delights on this beautiful island. Regrets at not being with the team when visiting the boys at Grace and the Trinco Projects. Will we miss all those arduous mini bus miles? Possibly not.

Hopefully as Danny will have more time in Batticaloa he will be able to achieve a great deal more to help with the ongoing reconstruction following the January floods.

It will be great to see our 'three buskateers' again and all the Teachers, Children and local Team in Batti.

So roll on dawn tomorrow when we will be off at last. (Will be thinking of you in your kayak, Matt...keep paddling...think of the money, not the pain.)

Danny & Heli

Maggie Baird

What is your goal for this trip?

Because this is my first trip to Sri Lanka, my very personal goal on THIS trip is to have a successful sports day, not to let the children down and to be able to hold my head up high with my fellow team members.

I also have the goal of actually opening a well, and pouring a glass of whisky over it to wish it good luck – an old Scottish custom

In a longer term, goals would to look closely at the orphanage to see how a sustainable vegetable garden could be installed to obviously provide food, but more importantly give the boys skills to garden and sell surplus provisions, and also perhaps set themselves up as gardeners long term to earn a living

Long term, I would like to see a nursery teacher training programme developed across the whole area based on good practise from this country, which is fully facilitated, and to guarantee a regular payment of the teachers.

Finally, I wish to raise awareness of Ocean Stars Trust within businesses and so encourage sponsorship and donations for the bigger projects, and also for individuals to sponsor a child

Was there any particular reason you chose Pilot markers/pens?

I chose silver broad nib Pilot Pens because having used one in the past for a wedding book, I was so impressed with it’s durability, and amount of ink. I felt this type of pen would last a long time after the Ocean Stars visit for the teachers to use for other projects they could devise themselves back in their nurseries. I am sure the pens live up to their name, and high cost

Lydia:

Having joined the team at such last minute (two weeks before take-off) it is hard to summarise my pre-trip thoughts. I am lucky enough to have heard about the work of Ocean Stars over the last few years as my brother, mum and finally dad have become involved with the charity. It will be so great to see the work that they do first hand, and to meet all the characters I have heard so much about! I am also just massively excited - it doesn't get much better than a last minute adventure and I can't wait to step foot in the airport on Thursday and join the team properly. I do feel a little bit guilty about the fact that I missed all the hard work of the preparation stages, but hopefully I can make up for this in Sri Lanka. Let's just hope I don't embarrass Mum too much xx

Dan's pre-trip thoughts

The time has finally come for my first OST visit! I have been to Sri Lanka 3 previous times, but this is my first, eagerly awaited OST trip. The charity has been a significant part of my life in recent years and I cannot wait to see first hand, the direct influence the charity has on the hundreds of lives within the beautiful island of Serendipity. Sri Lanka, or the 'motherland', has been a place of great thought and wonder. It never ceases to amaze me how we are all of the same descent, yet through influence of location, politics and wealth, we live such unrecognisably different lives. The fact our lives are so different doesn't mean that we can't communicate in human endeavour and emotion; it is on this basis that the OST work becomes so valuable for all parties involved. Having seen footage from previous trips and spoken to those who have been involved, everyone seems to be amazed at the pure joy the OST work brings to the everyday lives of Sri Lankan people. It is this that I hope to experience and be apart of.

I hope during the trip I am able to contribute with my various skills and try to ensure that both I and all the lives we come into contact with are richer for the experience. Sri Lanka is such a diverse and beautiful place with inhabitants who are of great inspiration to me. Therefore I cherish any opportunity to go back and eagerly anticipate the OST experience at first sight.

Best stop writing now and better start packing!

Dan B

Maureen

At the minute it is all a bit of a whirl. To be honest my feelings are mixed. I am conscious that the opportunity for me to join the team has come about as a result of illness to others. So they are very much in my thoughts as are my own family members. On the other hand I'm also excited – the chance to visit again with Mrs Nadarajah and the boys in Vavuniya, the teachers and the children in Trinco and Batti as well as Ranchan, Rangini and our drivers Ranga, Janake and Sudat. It's a real privilege to spend time with each one of them. Not looking forward to the flight or the pills (anti-malarials! - but necessary I suppose.) Anyhow, I'm off now to sit on the suitcase one more time!

Maureen

Matt

I've got 'Matt's kayak challenge' out of the way - thank you so much for the overwhelming support from the ocean stars family. I've got a couple of days to get myself into the trip spirit. The 12 months since last year's team trip have been the longest spell I've spent away from Sri Lanka since I first went with team '09. I've found myself missing the culture as a whole as well as the projects themselves - barely a day goes by that I don't find myself thinking of the places I've been lucky enough to see and the wonderful people I've met to share them all with. It's going to be so great to be back in 'Sri Lankan time.' A new experience which I'm both excited and nervous about is the opening of Little Stars Nursery. I'm excited because I still remember what a wild dream building my own nursery felt when I was sat with Dilanee and Ranchan 12 months ago and I can't wait to see that dream come true! On the other hand I know how overwhelming it can be to be thrust into a situation like this and asked by Ranchan to 'say a few words!' This years team seems like a really good group of driven and gifted people - the past few meetings have descended into hysterics so I'm sure there's going to be lots more laughs along the way.