Day 9 - Kate and Bron go to Galle

OceanStars :: Monday 9th November 2009 :: This Story

Saturday. 5.20am. UGH! But Ranga was calling for us (Kate & Bron) at 6 to go down south to a project in Galle. The rest of the team had been quite sorry for us to be ‘working’ on the last day when they were shopping, but actually it turned out to be a very interesting and varied day. We stopped off for a coffee break then travelled on to meet Rev Dareeju, a Methodist minister in Galle. We struggled with his name – practising to get it right when we met him, only to find that he greeted us with ‘Hello, I am Leslie’! Oh, well! J He took us to see a small village who were living in new housing about 15k inland. They had all lost their homes in the tsunami, and all the 50 families had been given lovely new homes. All good, you may think. But these were FISHERMEN! 15k from the sea. A bus runs twice each day, but to fish at night, there was no transport. One of the temporarily unoccupied houses was being used as a school run by 3 lovely young teachers – as additional lessons for the children. They were asking for help with the school, which was being ‘repossessed’ last night and given to a family. But this wasn’t an existing community – just a collection of families who didn’t know each other before, thrown together in this isolated village. So they also asked for help with building a temporary community centre with many uses – not just the school but also a possible playgroup and for meetings of the community. We left feeling sad at the situation but inspired by the teachers and the efforts of the community leaded to try to help everyone. On the way back to Galle we saw rubber trees, each with its own little cup, a small tea plantation a cinnamon bush and rice plants, none of which I had seen before other than in pictures. Having dropped Leslie back at his home, we set off back to Columbo. We had a paddle on the glorious beach along the way, visited a turtle research station – tiny, two day old turtles up to old gentlemen turtles. We saw a memorial to the lives lost in a train in the Tsunami – a terrible, graphic depiction of the train and the people. We arrived back at the hotel in a torrential thunderstorm – Yasmin took a brilliant a picture of the lightening, and the thunder was so loud.

A day of contrasts – but I preferred it to shopping and returned in time to get ready for our final meal in Colombo – a party of the English and Sri Lankan members of the team. A good time was had by all – it was a lovely evening.