Travelling in a country so different to mine, makes one realise how fortunate we are.
Sri Lanka has suffered so much over the years and the devastation of the 2004 Tsunami left the people of this beautiful country with even less than they had before.
My friend Carmel, who has organised this trip for us, came to this area about 8 years running. She brought students from the childcare training company, Charlton Brown, where she worked.
They volunteered at the Foundation of Goodness which started up after the tsunami hit.
It’s based in Seenigama in the Hikkaduwa area. It started in a villa donated by a man called Kushil Gunasekera, who is now Chairman of the board.
After a beautiful breakfast on the terrace we headed for the bus for the drive up the coast.
It was Rob’s birthday, so we had organised a little surprise on the bus.
A petite cake and a card!
We arrived at the turn off and walked the 500 metres down the road.
It was hot!
Carmel was greeted by her old friends from over 8 visits and I was already tearing up as you could see the effect the place has on so many lives.
We were officially welcomed and Ludmila talked about the Foundation and how it impacts on the lives of people in surrounding villages.
Kushil now does fundraising and seems to be successful, as all the donors are honoured on the boards displayed in the entrance. It’s impressive.
This is Kushil.
They have many programs on offer to empower the people into education towards a better life. All the programs are offered free.
We visited the preschool, which Carmel and her students supported, and of course were charmed by the gorgeous little children. They put on a little dance show and made us a flower which acted as a fan, as it was now very hot and steamy.
They sang to Rob for his birthday which moved us to tears.
We joined them for a rousing version of the Hokey Pokey with everyone giving it their best!
Such a wonderful experience.
We moved on to the computer classes offered free to 16-35 years olds, who after completing the course move onto employment, often in tourism.
Ludmila was keen to show us everything but we were SO hot. We saw the Library, and the shop, with it’s hand made products from the sewing classes.
We visited the medical centre where people come for free consultations and the dental surgery, where the doctor and dentists are volunteers.
I was chatting to the dental nurse, as my daughter in law is also a dental nurse. The uniform here is slightly more formal.
Into the mini bus and down to the sports centre. They are very proud of the sports achievements. Sports stars from all over the world visit here and donate time and money.
Several of the students have gone on to careers in world teams.
There’s a swimming pool, an oval, a gym
Such a wonderful place. By now , more than hot and sweaty, we were keen to wave goodbye and head for a cooler spot.
We drove to a nearby restaurant right by the sea. A beer and lunch later we felt revived and headed back to Galle.
After a short rest we broke up the group. Some went on the history walk with Hema. Some went shopping. Carmel, Jill, Pam and myself went to the Geoffrey Bawa designed Jetwing Hotel. What a place.
The staircase tells a story.
Meeting a delightful young staff member really helped us have a great look at this amazing hotel. She took us around and explained about the design and showed us a room and a suite. Beautiful.
Simple, understated architecture producing beautiful comfortable spaces.
As we sat sharing a bottle of Rose on the terrace, we felt we’d made the right decision about our afternoon. Our guide was so much fun and the place was magnificent.
We returned to meet everyone for dinner at a lovely hotel in the old fort.
Another lovely day.