Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag First days
12 november 2015
Today it’s Thursday the 12th of November. My fifth day in Sri Lanka. I feel like I’m getting kind of used to the daily rhytm over here. I think it really helpes that there are about fourteen other volunteers that help you to get familiar with everything.
I flew from Schiphol in the afternoon of the 7th of November, and after one transfer in Doha I arrived in Colombo on Sunday morning. I didn’t sleep that well on the plane, so I struggled to keep my eyes open on the two hour car ride from Colombo to Galle. It was really nice to get picked up, because as soon as the plane landed, and the only thing I saw was palm trees everywhereeee: culture shock. .
The ride home also amazed me. At first, we drove on the high way, and it only suprised me how green this country is. Later we drove trough Colombo and I saw people, traffic, dogs and cows everywhere. It all seemed so unstructured (if that is a word, if not, it is now).
When I arrived at the volunteer house, there were no other volunteers. They all went away on trips. I spend the day resting and trying to realize that I really did arrive in Sri Lank and really was going to stay there for another 77 days.
In the evening, the other volunteers arrived. There are actually lots of other Dutch people, but also some people from the UK and Australia. Mostly girls from my age, but also two boys and a man and a woman that are in there sixties.
On Monday morning, I went to the project for the first time.We go there by tuk tuk. The project is a transit house for teenage girls that are placed in out of home care. They live there for various reasons, but most of them are abused and raped. Next to the house, there is an orphanage, and some of those orphans are actually the children of the girls. They seem to get to see them once a week.
When I arrived in the room where we, a English volunteer and Lotte (a Dutch girl I will be doing the project with), were going to give the girls a English lesson, I was some what shocked. In this big room, there was one teacher teaching a handfull of girls about agriculture, while about 25 other girls just hung in their chairs. Some girls were checking each other for lice and nits (they are common over there), while others appeared to be sleeping. When we arrived, some girls got up and seemed to be eager to learn something. Others didn’t even move.
I was suprised by the low level of English. Most of the girls don’t speak in sentences and for their age, they seem to be far behind. After an hour or so, they lost their concentration and we changed from English to colouring in drawings.
All the clothes of the girls looked really dirty, but the girls themselves looked quite clean. I’ve visited the project three more times these days, and now know the routine a little better. It really differs how many girls show up or show interest. Some girls are smiling sometimes, while other have a really ‘dead’ glaze in their eyes. The situation at their homes must have been awfull, but staying at this transit house is also far from perfect (and far from wat I’m used to in Dutch health care). I heared that there are only 30 beds, for about 75 girls. No surprise that a lot of the girls look really tired.There is also some hierarchy that you can sense, some girls dominate and others are more the ones that are probably being bullied. There is one girl with a centimetre long hair, whilst all the other girls have amazingly long hair. Another volunteer told me that her naar was short because a girl shaved it of. The girls don’t really get much attention or supervision, so things like that seem to happen.
I have lots more to tell, but I think nobody is waiting for a 200-page story. In short, lots of shocks (culture wise, but I’m also not really used to the cold shower, some spicy food, all the staring when I walk around here, having to bring around bottled water everywhere and having to put on loads of anti-mosquito stuff and sun scream every morning), but also more and more routine. Waking up around 7, breakfast, project in the morning,two or three hours for lunch and chill, project in the afternoon, some more chilling and preparing and after dinner (at 8), moslty straight to bed. The food is delicious by the way.
Anyhow, I’m looking forward to see what the next days/weeks will bring and what Lotte and I can do for the girls.
Lots of love,
12 november 2015 20:06 | Door: Gilyana
it is nice to read that you have almost adapted to the life in Sri Lanka! It would be interesting to know more about how you try to motivate the girls? Do you motivate them at all? Do they receive psychological help? Here in Utrecht we have to study a lot :(
17 november 2015 09:13 | Door: Andrea van den Berg
Yeah, movating the girls is hard! Sometimes they seem to be eager to learn, but at other moments, they are juist showing the behavior that is typical for all teens. The girls don't get any psychological help, in fact, some have no day program. Some follow some classes, others have nothing tot do.
In my next blog I will write some more about the project, the girls, and what we try to do!
Good luck with all the studying!