Sunday 26th October Blog – Trincomalee

OceanStars :: Sunday 26th October 2008 :: This Story

An early start, we were up and about by 5am this morning, just before the sun rose. We took a sack full of hand-knitted teddies for the children of the Trincomalee Velllaimanal playgroup, we were on our way. The journey lasted three hours, passing through the beautiful Eastern landscape, high security check points and the cheeky monkeys, before arriving at the playgroup.

We were greeted by the Ocean Stars’ contacts, Yasmin and Rohan, who were very happy to see us in this isolated area. The children were peeping at us through the bushes, before lining up to present us with hand-made shell garlands. These children are all victims of the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka, but having said this, we were greeted by row upon row of beaming smiles.

As the morning progressed, time was spent playing games of musical bumps, singing songs and generally having fun. A highlight for us has to be “The Hokey Cokey”, which was loved by the children. The children also sang a song for us; “I am a mango”, which demonstrated to us the determination of the teachers and the enthusiasm of the children.

The children were treated to chocolate milk and chocolate biscuits, a rarity in this part of the world. To see the children’s appreciation of these simple items was deeply touching, as was their response to the teddy bears; there was no bickering over the colour or style.

After planting a range of exotic trees, including belli, guava and woodapple, we were given an opportunity to purchase sewing products from the mothers of the playgroup children. We were then treated to a feast and by Ayesha, the wife of Janabdeen, our local contact, which tantalised our taste buds and senses to extremes.

Throughout the day, the children could be seen clutching on to their teddies as we toured the village, stopping by at the sponsor families of the team members. The hospitality of these families was overwhelming, the Ocean Stars Team were treated with gifts of king coconuts, henna tattoos and flower garlands.

The money raised by Helen in the Stirling Run is being used to develop a health education programme for pre-natal mothers, regular health checks for the children and general health care. They hope to have this up and running in the next few months.

Thought for the day...

“It was an amazing day, one that will be remembered for a very long time. These people touched my heart. There is still so much more to do”