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21 November

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 2 months ago

Monday 21 November

Korawella-Pandura Camp

More improvisation

Hi! It's 6.00 a.m. and I've just finished writing up yesterday's diary. Slept very well despite a very noisy air conditioner (the ceiling fan doesn't work, sadly). Only a few mosquito bites, thank goodness. Soon Paddy and I will meet for an early breakfast and then we will go off and email yesterday's diary and more photographs to David back home in England. Then we need another shopping expedition - more dowel or bamboo and ribbons and superglue to make more ribbon sticks, more small balls as we lost quite a few yesterday, some rubbish bags so that we can try and get the children to help us clear up the performance site a bit, more batteries for the tiny sound system (very much looking forward to having a bigger sound system), more rubber gloves as they keep splitting, some more wax crayons - and some more nescafe for early morning coffee!


Our team for today


Today being Monday and a weekday, the children will be going to school, so we won't start our session till just after 3.00 pm. I've asked the Impakt team to come at 2.00 for a half hour briefing before we set off to the camp, so that we can all feed back on how we feel things have gone so far. The good bits and also where we could have organised it better, and plans on how to make it a bit more organised without becoming too regimental about it all. Although we won't have the weekend volunteers with us again till next Saturday, we are still a large team - 5 of us plus Rooben from Children's World and John and Natalie makes 7 of us in the core team. There are 5 very nice English volunteers with us for the next week at least - two beautiful twins, a nice girl called Flora, and Jane and her 17-year-old son Lee - must buy some sticky labels so we can all be named and learn everyone's names. That makes 12. Plus Shane, our translater, and 3 very nice Sri Lankan girls who are probably going to become full-time in the future, but who need to commute from Colombo for now as they have morning classes. So a total of 16, which really should be more than enough. Even though the numbers of children aren't huge - only about 175 children at a time maximum so far - they are so excited when we arrive that it is really quite hard maintaining some sort of order in a 'fun' way and trying to ensure that each child gets to participate in each activity and has the best possible time.


Planning for the Playbus


It being Monday, and the Election being over and done with, Eshan will be returning to the Docks first thing this morning, and will hopefully eventually be able to liberate the Playbus and, even more vital, our equipment. He then has to take the Playbus to get it registered, so it won't arrive with us at Ambalangoda till Tuesday morning earliest. Then it needs its shade roof fitted and its wiring all linked up to the generator, etc. We need to unload all the equipment, sort it into big plastic boxes for each day's use and reload it really sensibly. This will take a full day at least, so we will probably be continuing to commute to camps in the vans till at least Wednesday or Thursday. I don't think we will bother to take the clay or badges out till the Playbus is up and running, but we very much hope that the parachute will be sent down to us in time for this afternoon's session, or certainly in time for Tuesday's session. When I came to Sri Lanka in March the parachute games were the most enormous success and I long for us to start playing them again! Fingers crossed that we can liberate the parachutes really soon!


Will finish today's diary and let you know how today's camp session went later tonight and send it off to David first thing Tuesday to go up on the website.


2nd half of Monday 21 November - Korewella-Pandura Camp

Pushing the vanVolunteers




Paddy and I finished sending the web diary and pictures for 20 November to David Parsons in England and then met up with everyone back at our rather seedy hotel. Holly and Jo had had a fantastic shopping trip and got almost everything we needed. 5 Impakt Sinhalese volunteers and Shane our Sinhalese translater arrive to join us, and after a quick briefing we head off to Korewella-Pandura Camp about 45 minutes away.

Ball gamesClownClown and Jo





The temporary shelter area is tiny, and even though there will be apparently only about 50 children organised by IOM, we really wouldn't be able to cope there, so we ask if we may use the nice big yard in the school next door and permisssion is granted. We set up there and soon about 50 very well-behaved children arrive in a neat and tidy crocodile. There are quite a lot of school children hanging around the yard, so we say that they can join in too, and later we are joined by even more children (probably a total of about 120) plus a lot of older teenagers, mums and grannies.

Jo jugglescopying PaddyShelter




Some ball games are run while we set up the show, Paddy goes into his chanting/clapping/copying routine, and on comes Charlie followed by Jo. Thank goodness we had moved to the school yard, because about half way through the first part of the show the heavens open and we have to dash for a big, long classroom (about 50' x 20'). Amazingly, there is a stage in the classroom, so the show continues up there. At the close of the first end of the show we run spinning plates and twirling ribbons on the stage, and facepainting and drawing in the lower part of the room. Remarkably this works really well. All the grannies and mothers are joining in with ribbon twirling. Then the star ribbon twirlers and plate spinners do their stuff, and it's in to the 2nd half of the show, which, as always, the children love.


Let them draw


As we have no equipment to speak of and the children aren't able to take away badges, beanbags or clay figures they have made, we present them with half a ream of A4 paper and 3 boxes of wax crayons. Some of their pictures had been really lovely, and it is nice to know that they will now be able to go on drawing for at least a while.


A long drive onto our new accommodation in Ambalamgoda - and absolute chaos when we arrive as there are not enough rooms. Will describe this in full and glorious detail tomorrow, but we must rush now as it is time to set off for our next session.....



When we leave the school at about 6.30, the rain is still pouring down, and Natalie and John have a horrid time driving the 2 vans on wet roads through rush-hour traffic. The journey seems to take for ever and it is past 9.00 pm when we eventually arrive at our hotel in Ambalangoda. We are all tired, hungry and a bit ratty from being in the van for so long (except 5-year-old Rooben actually, who, having sensibly slept the whole way, was rested and delightful!)


Sorting out the beds


We knew there was a slight shortage of rooms here and that Paddy and Charlie would have to double up in a twin room, but there turn out to be even less rooms than we thought, and Jo, Holly and Rooben had to all share as well. (I had a single, as no one with even remotely good hearing would want to share with me, as I'm afraid I am the queen of snorers!) I explain in great detail to reception what beds we need in what rooms, and we are eventually sorted out with keys - Alice and Susie, the twins, and Flora to a triple room, Shane to a single room, me to a single room, Jo, Holly and Rooben to a triple room, John and Natalie to a double room, Jane and her son Lee to a twin room, and Paddy and Charlie to a twin room. Huge sigh of relief - it can't be much fun being a travel agent/tour guide/rep!


My husband rings and we start to catch up news, but I suddenly realise that all is not well in reception, so I ask him to ring tomorrow and go to see what is wrong. It's a bed crisis! Natalie and John, the only people who actually need a double bed, have been given twin beds, and Jane and her 17-year-old son Lee, who need twin beds have been given a double bed - so that was fairly easy to sort with a direct swap once we knew what was what. Various other changes and then suddenly there is an irate Paddy, rather red in the face, shouting, 'I'm not gay!' He and Charlie have been given a double bed, not twin beds. All is eventually sorted out, but it seems to take forever, and there are lots of ruffled feathers to be smoothed down I scuttle round rooms checking all is well, puffing my way up and down stairs, feeling sorrier than ever for tour reps. The alcohol ban (set up just prior to the election last Thursday) is over, so we all have a beer or two to calm ourselves down. We realise that to the south side of the hotel there is a beautiful garden with a lovely swimming pool and that right below that is the beach. After dinner we go and sit on a raised terrace that over looks the beach and the coconut grove to the right - we see a couple of fireflies, which is something we had never seen before. We are here for 3 nights so it is worth unpacking properly, and a good opportunity to get some washing done. To bed, praying for better weather, as shows in some of the camps are going to be very difficult if it keeps raining.


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22 November

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