Christmas is here …and it’s HOT!

December 23, 2008 at 7:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hopefully not becoming a bore but being in a warmer clime for the first time in my life at this time of the year is a tad strange. Being a Buddhist country the festive season is not widely celebrated ( they do get a bank holiday) and living out in the sticks the shops only started to get Christmassy this week, tried to buy cards to post last month not a sausage this week the streets are a wash with them, so perhaps I should get next years now. Go in to the city there are lights and expensive decorations in the shops but only in the last 3 weeks which is a change from the commercial explosion in the UK from after Easter as I remember. Despite buying a little tree, decorating it, receiving cards and gifts, decorating my window bars with tinsel its not quite got that feeling, coz I’m so hot!
I am however looking forward to getting together with my friends and other vols in the next few days and of course going to the beach… I know enough – move on!
Work continues to make me smile some days with satisfaction others with bewilderment! Returning briefly to the festive season for a mo the women of Mulleriyawa have been the recipients of various donations which has been lovely to witness. The Sisters from the Mother Theresa convent visited the other day bringing with them the dry goods for a meal for the 700 residents, plus a Christmas goodie bag for all of them which contained, 2 pieces of fruit, biscuits, choc bar, toothpaste, tooth brush, soap, washing soap, a hankie, necklace earrings and bangles, and some nail varnish. I assisted the nuns and their helpers distribute these gift bags to the wards, when I walked through an hour later there was a lovely smell of oranges in the air…ahh. They were accompanied by some volunteers and children who put on a little nativity play, sang some carols, and Santa came to distribute sweeties to the audience, which nearly saw the end of him when the ladies came a little to keen to get heir hands on the candy !
The nuns were amazing so much energy and an unending desire to help the women. A result of several phone conversations in the past weeks with them, is that they may be able to house some of the older women (possibly as many as 30) at their Elders Homes through out the country…meetings planned to explore this opportunity in the diary for January.
Thoughts of the New Year and another community development, we visited a community home (supported by St Andrews Church of Scotland Colombo) last Saturday with some of the ladies who are working at the paper factory. We are exploring the possibility of 3 ladies moving to the home as an intermediate measure the long term goal being they go back to their families or they move on to independent housing. We have been doing some preparation work with them which resulted in 5 of the 8 being really eager to give it a go. This has also given me the chance to work on introducing the concept of team working , and community follow up, with the staff, this has been a little slow, but working with the keener staff is starting to pay off…well there’s been lots of head wobbling!
The garden continues to take shape with the women busy in it most mornings as I cycle into work. This project is headed by Dr S one of the Medical officers, he recently contacted his old school The Royal College of Colombo, some teachers and students visited a few months ago and have been supporting his ideas and plans, which has resulted in funding through UNESCO to support the development. It is hoped it will be able to grow enough veg to support the kitchen in improving the diet for the women and to sell the rest locally. Plans also include a bio gas plant so watch this space for developments. So its all go at Unit 2 I am pleased to say!
I attended a 2 day workshop on proposal writing and funding applications last week. It was facilitated by VSO vols working in the Participation and Governance sector. The mental health sector in SL is funded by the EC until 2015.There is money available to support the development of the partner organisations, various funds, means forms which previously ended up being completed by the volunteer!!! Therefore the workshop was aimed at staff from various organisations, different grades of Dr’s, social workers, nurses in SL. It gave the chance to discuss planning and project management which is lacking and often the cause of frustrations experienced by Vols .We continue to make in roads to development and sustainability with such workshops …so there you go an update of what I ‘m doing here. ..on the work front anyway ,more of the social side next year!

I wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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