24th October 2010 - Overnighting at 'Grace'

OceanStars :: Sunday 24th October 2010 :: This Story

Pushing lorry in Sri Lanka

Nursery staff group

After the others had left for Dambulla the 'adventures' at Grace home continued for both Kate and Maureen. We were staying at the home for the night and were looking forward to sharing some quieter moments with both the boys and Mrs Nadarajah. It turned out to be both a fun and very emotional experience for us both.

The evening began with prayers which were led by some of the older boys and it was truly inspiring. There was singing, clapping as well as praying and they all joined together in a very confident and supportive way. Afterwards they continued to want to show the few possessions they call their own, taking our hands, guiding us to their rooms and proudly displaying their new t-shirts, pens, pencils etc. Little things mean so much to them!!

Then it was dinner time and we were treated to another curry feast. Sudha joined us and it was good to talk through together the events of the day. Time was moving on and some of the younger boys fell asleep on the concrete floor of the main common room. We played games, 'talked' together and had a bed-time story which was a bit of a novelty for them. We had adapted the story of 'The Rainbow Fish' and had it translated into Tamil. I read the english and the boys took it in turns to read the Tamil translation. Meanwhile Kate was being beaten hands down at noughts and crosses.

After the younger boys had gone to bed, we moved outside and sat on the veranda talking with Mrs Nadaraja and the older boys. Their devotion to her is obvious - she truly is a mother to them. Equally her concern and love for them is evident. Even at 72 years of age she sleeps in a bed in the boys dormitory to ensure their safety and security. 10 o'clock came and it was bedtime for all of us. After we had chased the mozzies out of our room we finally got some rest and had a good night's sleep.

Early starts have become the norm on Ocean Stars trips but even by recent standards, our start today was exceptionally early. The alarm sounded at 5 a.m and we were up and out by 5.30 a.m to join the boys for morning prayers. Again an inspiring experience with all the boys taking part.

We went back to bed for a bit more sleeping while the boys did all their chores; sweeping the floors and ironing their crisp white shirts ready for their Sunday morning service. We were able to have bread and jam for breakfast but the boys were fasting until lunchtime. It seems so unfair!! We later joined the boys for their Sunday service along with many others from the local village. It was a moving and uplifting experience and Kate particularly enjoyed the drums as she is not used to hearing them in church.

The highlight of the rest of the morning was watching the boys push their truck to try and get it started. Eventually, with the guidance of Sudha they managed to get it going, whereupon they took us for a short ride around the village. Very bumpy and health and safety in our country would have a fit. It was great fun and the boys thoroughly enjoyed their ride in the back.

After another delicious curry it was time to leave. It was very hard to say 'goodbye' to both Mrs Nadarajah and the boys. They carried our bags to the bus and waved and waved until we were out of sight. We are the only visitors they have each year and we look forward, with them, to our return in 2011.

Maureen and Kate