Day 9

Tsunami Village Visit and more...

Naomi Booth :: Friday 27th October 2023 :: This Story

So we have woken up to our departure day from Batti. Bags packed and loaded on to the coach mini bus and  car. Calthorpe Park Team 2023 are going to visit the Tsunami village and in particular, a friend called Fatima who they met several years ago. Fatima's story reminds us all of why we are here and brings real value to the work we do. Team 2 are first going to the office to unload various spare resources and bags and then head t Muravodai School in Vallachenai and spend the morning working with the students there.

Everyone arrived in Colombo by 6.30 pm on Saturday 27th October. We are staying at the Galaldri Hotel, a treat for everyone after a week of hard work.

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Here are a few more stories from team members over the last couple of days.

Julie

We have arrived in Colombo after an amazing few days. On our last day in Batticaloa, we spent time in a very rural pre-school, the children were really confident as they individually stood up and sang us a song, counted or said the alphabet. They loved the story and repeated it back to us in very good English.  They loved putting stickers on the hats they had coloured and had fun popping bubbles.
This pre-school is part of the feeding programme and doesn't yet have tables for the children to sit at.

Throughout our time here we have been very blessed with warm welcomes and extraordinary hospitality, we have made new friends and had some wonderful experiences.

Odile

26th October - Visit to Deaf Link School

Today some students from Calthorpe and some of us from Team 2 visited the Deaf Link School in Batticaloa. Ocean Stars support the school with visits and resources. We were shown around the school and told that some of the students stay here during term times as they live so far away. Many of the children were non-verbal but they all signed. However they were doing amazing things at the school to help develop the speech of some of the children.  We were shown an amazing room which was acoustically appropriate for children to come there for 1 to 1 teaching. We watched a teaching session where a boy called Johnson demonstrated his ability to make the sounds asked for by his teacher and he was shown through sensory means how to make these sounds. He could say several letters of the alphabet and many of the CVC words written down by the teacher.

Along with some Calthorpe students and teachers we worked with small groups on different craft activities. It was so quiet  and calm in the hall. One of the boys was doing so well that he was being integrated into mainstream education.

Our time there ended with a wonderful dance show.  Two boys and a girl danced to 'By the rivers of Babylon'. They could not hear the music but felt the vibration in the floor and followed the signing of their teacher who was sat at the front. Even when the music failed, they were completely unfazed! They were absolutely brilliant.

Lorna:

Today, Friday 27th October 2023 on our way to Colombo we stopped off at a primary and secondary school.

This school is in the poorest of areas with so many difficulties. However despite the challenges they face daily they are the top performers in exams out of 84 schools. It just shows what can be achieved with determination from both teachers and students.

The excitement when 14 year olds were playing cat and mouse with the parachute; given a beanbag to throw to a partner.

We then gave them a sticker each. Well I have never seen such excitement just for a sticker. I must have given out about 100 stickers - wow it was incredible. The excitement for something we just take for granted or often pick up off the floor.

We are now on the long journey from Batticaloa to Colombo. We are traveling to Ocean Stars Sri Lankan staff, our dear friends. One more night together living it up in a posh hotel, some sightseeing tomorrow and I know some tearful farewells.

And here is what are  Calthorpe Park Students and staff have had to say.....

Rebecca:

I really enjoyed being busy all the time and trying out so many different things. It was great to be in school and seeing the children so happy. The temples have been a great experience to see the different cultures and how pretty and unique they all are. I am so glad to have had the chance to do all this, because I never would have done this before!

Poppyanna:

I have enjoyed all aspects of the trip especially seeing the children's faces light up when we go and visit them. I have loved visiting all the tourist attractions but my favourite was definitely the elephant orphanage. Being able to feed the elephants and feel their trunks was such a surreal experience. I have loved this whole trip and it is a life-changing experience.

Ava:

I have really enjoyed the whole Sri Lanka experience so far, especially seeing the difference in cultures and how excited the children get when seeing us and doing activities with us. My favourite experience by far was the safari and it felt so surreal to see the elephants and other animals so close up. Overall, I have loved Sri Lanka and the way it has changed my perspective.

Stu:

I think the engagement of our students has been amazing on this trip, especially at sports day. Even when they were not participating, our students were interacting all the time with the Sri Lanka students.  Even allowing for the language barrier it is amazing to see everyone enjoy themselves, laugh and share together.

Charlotte:

I have very much enjoyed my time. Despite having travelled to Sri Lanka many times I still feel like I see new things every day and gain new experiences. Highlights of the trip this year would be watching our students interact so well with the Sri Lankan children. They have represented our school superbly and all enjoyed themselves immensely.

Madushan:

I have really enjoyed the company of the Calthorpe Park students and teachers after five years of not being able to take a student group to Sri Lanka. I enjoyed the fact that they asked so many questions about life in Sri Lanka. I love how the gelled together with the local students all the way through and have learnt valuable life lessons through doing this.

Ruann:

This is my first time doing a tour involving students and a charity. The whole things has been a very valuable experience for me.

Prassana:

I have really enjoyed this trip. For me, the highlight has been seeing how the UK students work with the local students. What they do empowers the Sri Lankan students to become good citizens of our country.

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