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23 November

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 7 months ago

Wednesday 23 November

Ambalangoda Camp

(actually about 12 kilometers inland from Ambalangoda - must find proper name)

 

Chasing a parachute

 

Head off with Paddy straight after breakfast in a tuk tuk to a new, better internet office to post stuff on the web and send emails. I email Neil Butler of the Harf Foundation, asking him to urgently investigate what happened to the parachute we left in their care in March. Has it gone to one of the camps, do they still have it? Is there any chance that we could borrow it until our new equipment is released from Customs? It is still only 3.30 am in England, so I can't expect an answer for some hours.

 

Fingers crossed!

 

It is beautifully sunny and between computers, internet, shopping and washing the ribbon twirlers and spinning plates which got terribly dirty at yesterdays wet and sandy camp, we get a chance to see what a beautiful place we are staying in. The pool is lovely and the gate at the bottom of the garden opens onto a really lovely beach. Time for a quick dip in the pool and then we drive to today's camp, which is about 12 kilometers inland.

 

Today's setting

 

As we arrive, we see some temporary housing. These are not wooden as most of the temporary shelters are, but made of galvanised metal sheets, which must surely be tremendously hot. But there is a lovely open space at the top of a hill where we can work, and we set up the performance area with our backs to a hedge which will provide some shade for both performers and audience - a necessity, as it is incredibly hot today and we are all dripping with sweat. The facepainting is also set up in the shade of the hedge, lower down the lane, and the drawing workshops are set up in a small Montessori building 150yards away below the tiny Buddhist temple.

 

A joy

 

When the children arrive, along with lots of very friendly women, they are a joy - probably the healthiest looking, politest and most charming children we have met so far. Morale in this camp is good - we hear that 100 families have recently been moved to permanent housing, the first permanent housing we have heard of. What a difference it makes! Now that so many families have been rehoused, there is less pressure here - and also the people remaining have real hope that they too will be properly rehoused in the not too far-distant future!

 

The show goes really well as do the workshops. Four of the older boys become incredibly profficient at plate-spinning, and give us a demonstration of their new-found skill, as well as a very nicely choreographed ribbon-twirling piece, to loud applause, before the second part of our show.

 

"My home"

 

The pictures the children made in the drawing workshop here were particularly upbeat, with beautiful colourful pictures of houses, many saying proudly 'My Home'. We are not clear whether they were drawing their old homes, their current temporary homes or the homes they were expecting to get soon, but either way the feeling was tremendously positive and happy.

 

We drive back to the hotel having completed the first third of our tour, very glad that this lovely camp was the one we ended this phase on, not the rather sad drunken camp of yesterday. We really hope that permanent house building keeps moving on faster and faster - it is almost a year now since the tsunami struck, and people need real hope that they will be properly rehoused.

 

Planning a busy 'day off'

 

We have a day off tomorrow and will be moving from Ambalangoda to Hikkaduwa, which will be our base for the next three nights. Hopefully the team will get a chance to rest up a bit before the next 6-day stint of camps. I hope to use this camp-less day to pursue the possible parachute, catch up with sorting our receipts and accounts, sort out pictures in a way that gives a feel of the show and each day's activities a bit more clearly, get in touch with the lady who is setting up the Thai Tsunami Tour that Jo and I will be heading on to when this Tour finishes, and get my application for funding for our Somerset Puppetry and Integration Workshop Weeks Tour into the BBC Children in Need Appeal, as the deadline is very soon now. (Paddy, Charlie and I also need to do some brainstorming and planning about a Maths Day that they will be running for our local special school in Street when they return to England, and a 2-day Tudors 'Living History' Tour that has been booked by a primary school in Salisbury for the last week of term. Very hard to think about all that while we are out here - but we will have to!

 

Vigorous waves, phone calls, emails

 

We all had a lovely swim in the sea (wonderful, vigorous waves) and the pool before dinner, and my secretary rang from England. It was 'mosquito time' so I stayed in the pool for the call, while Paddy took notes on a sunlounger. Neil Butler had emailed my office in England in response to my email about our March parachute. He is trying to contact MC to discover what happened to it, and he sent numbers for Chaminda in Hikkaduwa and for Geoffrey Dobbs in Galle so that I can also pursue from this end.

 

Lots of other English news and developments - we are so lucky having Chris my wonderful secretary/assistant/right hand in the Glastonbury office -there is no way we could be out here working in Sri Lanka if she were not holding the fort back at home!

 

I ring Chaminda over dinner and he says he will investigate and see if he can find the parachute and any other equipment. We will be in Hikkaduwa tomorrow and could easily pick it up, so fingers crossed. Another early night, as although I feel really well, I am getting very tired. Early nights suit me, so that I can wake really early and get paperwork done. Do hope it is a sunny day off tomorrow for the 'day off'!

 

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24 November

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