Week 5

Megan in Sri Lanka

OceanStars :: Monday 11th July 2011 :: This Story

Hi Everyone!

Thanks so much to everyone who sent me comments on my ramblings from last week. It's really good to get everyone's perspectives, and has added to my food for thought!

This week has gone like greased lightning. I've visited one more nursery, worked two days in the OST office, held day-old kittens, eaten my lunch off a plate-sized lily pad, sat through a fabulous thunderstorm, tried some delicious Sri Lankan sweeties, and to be honest, if the time keeps flying like this then I will be too, before I know it.

In the coming week, I'll be visiting a painting class, which Ranchan tells me is in fact fabric painting. I'm pretty excited about it! And hopefully, I'll be visiting a 'mystery painting' group, too, which uses a kind of meditative painting as therapy for those who were traumatised by the tsunami and the war.

And then, this time next week, Ruth will be here!

Whenever I thought about Ruth's arrival before, it was always in terms of the massive chunk of time before her arrival, and everything I'd be doing in it. I completely forgot that once she gets here, I'll only have two weeks to go before I'm leaving again. It really is going crazily fast.

Love you all,

Meg x

Week 4

News and ponderings...

OceanStars :: Monday 4th July 2011 :: This Story

Hello Everyone!

Megan teaching english

I will have been here for four weeks on Wednesday, and I really can't believe it. Time is flying! This week I have run 2 3-hour sessions and one 6-hour session of English teaching, which has been really good fun, and seems to be going pretty well. We've had good feedback, anyway! I've also met several other english people here, one lady working for VSO, and two working for the British Council in Colombo, and it's been lovely and very interesting to talk to them about their experiences here.

Joseph told me on Monday that the cat living at the hotel is pregnant, and she had her kittens yesterday! Joseph's going to show me them tonight, and I'm really quite excited. Ooh, and the ladies I was teaching yesterday suddenly made me stand up and started measuring me for a Sari! It turns out there's some kind of event happening on July 30th, which will be a big deal and which we've been invited to, so I'll be going Sri Lankan style!

In the next couple of weeks, I've asked Ranchan if I can start helping out in the Ocean Stars office to get a bit of an idea of how the charity functions logistically, and the week after next I'll be stopping nursery visits (which have been really nice) and starting visiting a painting class, which I'm really looking forward to. It's all go!

And, as ever, thank you for your news and messages. Keep them coming. Love you all lots.

Meg x

Week 2 - Batti!

OceanStars :: Monday 27th June 2011 :: This Story

Hi Everyone!

I've been in Batticaloa for nearly a week now and have decided it's time for an update!

It's been a pretty eventful week. Batti is bigger and busier than other places I've seen so far. With the sea on one side and the lagoon on the other there's water everywhere! I've spent the week visiting nurseries, met an English lady called Alice (SO nice to have an english natter!) and learnt how to make hats and baskets out of palm leaves.

It's *really* interesting to be here and think about things with my development hat on! There are NGO logos everywhere, from on buckets to on buildings, and I find myself asking lots of critical questions about the nature of development, and of what my role is here in the short time I have etc etc! All very interesting. Ruth, it'll be fascinating to have a good natter about it when you're here too!

It's not all rosy all the time, obviously. There have been occasions when I've felt lonely, simply through lack of ability to have a English chinwag about nothing-in-particular with anyone. But I'm never alone for very long and everyone here is lovely.

There are lots of little things I love about being here, too. The smell of jasmine. The way the place goes deliciously cool in the evenings. The fun of getting everywhere by motorbike (love you, Mum!!). And just the simple fact that these lovely people have so generously opened their culture and experiences to me.
I've learnt little bits and pieces about Sri Lanka's recent history, too, which has been fascinating, and I've discovered that there are peace projects in the area following years of war, and painting therapy too. I'm hoping to go and see some of these projects as well.

Tomorrow I'm starting the English teaching. It's pretty daunting because it's a three-hour class, with teachers of different levels of English, so I'm not yet sure how I'm going to fill up the time while catering for everyone, without overloading them with information! But Ranchan, the guy looking after me here, will be working through it with me and finding ways to improve as we go along, so it'll be a learning experience for me too!
Thanks so much again for the messages you've been sending. Keep them coming! Would really value your continued prayers for good health, enthusiasm and inspiration for teaching!

You're all amazing. Love. Meg x

Week 1 - Trinco

Megan's update after one week in Sri Lanka

OceanStars :: Sunday 19th June 2011 :: This Story

Hi Everyone!

Well I've been here for about a week and a half and so much has happened in that time that I'm not really sure where to start. This place is amazing :) And SO beautiful. Thanks so much for the messages you've sent already. It was lovely to find some news from home waiting for me. In answer to your questions, I've adjusted to the heat really quickly, the food is lovely and everyone is fabulous and looking after me really well. I've been to Grace home for children, spent a week unexpectedly teaching English classes in Trinco (which was an experience! A good one :) ), and I've been taken round everywhere by my *fabulous* driver, Ranga, who has been showing me loads of sites that have been here since before Jesus was!! What an incredible place. Massive abundance of wildlife too- monkeys everywhere and ghekos and lizards and eagles and cows. Lots of cows. (Alex, I've not spotted any tigers to post you at all, I'm afraid, but a potentially-rabid monkey might be feasible if that's a suitable replacement??), And *oh my goodness*, I have ridden an elephant. I have actually ridden an actual elephant, and have photographic evidence to prove it!! (Was thinking of you, Em! Hug shmug! How're the exams, by the way - give me NEWS!! How was history? Been thinking of you lots xx).

So all in all, I'm having a fabulous time in a fabulous place with a lot of fabulous people. Ruth Jenkins, you are in for a treat! Can't wait to have you here. Maureen, thanks for the tip on the wet wipes!!

Love you all massively!

Lots and lots of love!

Megan xx

Pre Trip Thoughts

Megan reflects on her trip before departure

OceanStars :: Thursday 9th June 2011 :: This Story

Megan Rawlings from Fleet is studying International development at the University of East Anglia. She has chosen to spend her second year placement with the Ocean Stars Trust working in Sri Lanka.

Megan reflects on her trip before departure:

Well I'm all packed and ready to go, and I suppose I'm just waiting. The thoughts that have been going around in my head today were the expected mix of nerves, excitement, wondering how I'll cope with the heat and whether I've remembered to pack everything. But I gave myself some time to go to the woods and pray and think, and now that I have, my pre-trip thoughts are these:

I really hope I can GIVE to the people that I'm going to. I'm so much aware of how much I'll have that they don't, stuff as simple as the fact that I can speak English and they want to. I want to be a vessel for Jesus' love, but I want that love to drive me to give not just what I get from Jesus, but what I have in myself too. I want to push myself, to not return home with anything that I could have left for those at the other end. They will be giving so much to me in hospitality, in keeping me safe, in sharing their culture with me. I hope I can give back to them. Obviously, it'd be good to learn some stuff for my uni course too, and I'm really excited about seeing a new place and getting some elephant snaps! There's so much to learn and see and try and give, and I'm so grateful to everyone that's worked to get me the opportunity. I'm pretty excited. It's gonna be awesome.