Day 4...

Gift catalogue boat, tourist tour and Calthorpe Park School students arrive in Batticaloa

Dilanee Bunter :: Sunday 22nd October 2023 :: This Story

So much has happened today that it is difficult to know where to start! Just to help me navigate the multiple experiences and events that have taken place I am going to break the day into bite size sections.

Odile and the Gift Catalogue Boat: A Report by Odile

8.30 visit to see 2 boats that my family had bought collectively: Pineapple 1 and Pineapple 2.  My nephew married in Sri Lanka in 2020 and we all made it to the wedding, about 20 of us from the UK plus 150  other people from all over the world inc. Australia and the USA. We made it back home about 3 weeks before lockdown in the UK. My sister didn't want anything for her big birthday later that year but suggested we contribute towards a boat.  Sri Lanka had been such a welcoming island back in Feb. 2020 and she wanted to give back in some way.  The fisherman's life had changed since getting the boat as he no longer had to pay rent for one and this meant that he could keep more of what he earns. He told us how he had once been attacked by a crocodile which must have been terrifying. But the boats are pretty solid fibreglass vessels and certainly fit for purpose. Pineapple 2 was owned by a husband and wife who go out together on their boat every night at 10pm and stay out on the lagoon until the morning, fishing. They earn around  1000 Sri Lankan rupees a day- about £2.50. Before they had the boat it sounded as though they had to beg borrow or steal boats to get out and fish so as to make a living.  I was given a short spin around the lagoon which was a wonderful experience.

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Lorna and Samuel

So today we finished our tourist tours. We've all had a wonderful couple of days visiting Kandy Temple, Dambulla Rock, the Elephant sanctuary, on Safari, Wood carving centres and a Batik factory as well as a trip on the train and a village tour.

We began our journey to Batticaloa where I think most of us took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep!

Arriving in Batticaloa we all joined together for a meeting - Calthorpe students, Team 2, Ocean Stars office staff, Sri Lankan secondary school teachers and students, drivers and translators. We all introduced ourselves and heard the story of why Ocean Stars was founded. We sang the Ocean Stars song 'Hokey Cokey' which was great fun.

After 5 years of no visits to Sri Lanka it was like 'coming home' for many and the team spirit was great to see. It's going to be a wonderful week.

Julie and Scarlett : arrived at the Hotel Riviera having had a wonderful few days exploring Sri Lanka. Their highlight so far has been the Village Tour and the cookery demonstration.

Calthorpe Park School

After 18 months of planning, fundraising, meetings the staff and students of Calthorpe Park School have finally arrived in Batticaloa!! They were warmly welcomed by our staff . The sports direct resources bags and suitcases and Samba drums that arrived with the students were a sight to behold!! A meeting with staff and students from 4 link schools. Team 2, the Beyond Boundaries Team made this a gathering of around 70 people. Welcome speeches were made by Dilanee, Ross, Shalini, Gihan and all the link schoolteachers. We sang songs and the students from the UK and Sri Lanka mingled with each other and foundations of friendships were made. Several group photographs were taken. Happy Birthday was sung for OSL staff member Chitra, and the Trip Inauguration meeting ended with the customary Hokey Cokey.

The students spent a lot of time after the Inauguration Meeting sorting out the resources into what they needed for the week, into categories, in to age groups. The students also sorted out football kit that had been donated into 3 full kits that will be donated to their link schools during the week.

We are all excited to start our work at the link schools and get stuck into the action-packed Ocean Stars week.

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