Fitting weather welcomes us!

OceanStars :: Friday 24th October 2008 :: This Story

After a 10 hour flight we arrived at Colombo airport, at 5am, in the midst of a tropical downpour which has lasted all day. We were met by the Revd. Ranchan and our three smiley drivers.

We were fortunate enough to have our 750 pound excess luggage fee waived by an understanding Sri Lankan Airways supervisor. So through customs we went, crammed with teddies, bean bags and a bottle of gin (which was suggested by Jan, agreed by Jo and carried out by Helen!)

We were taken safely to a Negombo beach front hotel. On our way, we encountered our first glimpses of the Sri Lankan culture, including many colourful umbrellas- even protecting those on motorbikes and bicycles, tuc-tucs and the retro lorries/buses.

When we reached our accomodation for the night, the waves were crashing in front of our eyes and the wind was blowing in our faces. The sea was grey, reflecting the sky above, and was atmospheric, representative of our reason for being here.

This didn't dampen our spirits however, as Bron, Kate, Helen and Jan sprinted with childlike zest towards the seafront. Jo also dipped her toes in! For Helen and Janaki, this was the fruition of a 23 year old promise.

We experienced our first curried breakfast with dhal to die for and papaya to salivate over.

After breakfast, Jo and Dilanee departed for Colombo with our regular driver, Ranga. This was to be the beginning of an eventful day for them, as they went in search of a school photocopier, a video camera for the Grace children's home and money exchange etc. However, the money exchange turned into a long ordeal, which included being led through dodgy car parks, up smelly staircases and locals scouring the streets of Colombo for the best exchange rates. This was followed by an eventual successful purchase of a photocopier and video camera, not forgetting the all important cricket bats for the boys at home!

During this time, the rain continued to pound down. Some of the team caught up on some sleep whilst Sharon and Amali ventured into the sea; not to be deterred by a local's concern for the dangerous "electricity" (i.e. current!)

Eventually, after some of the team enjoyed a cheap lunch, the team met up again to unpack the many cases of donations and divide the goodies for the various projects that we are going to be working on over the 10 days.

It was then time to retire and relax for some, whilst Dilanee, Maureen and Kate headed off to Ankapura where they will be spending the day tomorrow with the children of the Grace Children's Home. All quite happy to hit the pillow early - ready for a 6am start!

We're safe, exhausted, but happy!