Unfortunately, more than the half of my stay is already over. The breakdown of my laptop and the fact that there was nothing to report are the reasons my resting
Now I am back with stories to tell:
Starting with the teaching. After a change of my schedule, I only teach German from now on. On Saturdays grade 6,7 and 8+9 and additionally some older students two times a week
I usually start the lesson with a little game to find their issues and then build up the lesson on that. Also, learning through pictures has proven to be an effective way, as some pupils are talented in drawing and it helps them to remember the newly learned vocabulary. Sometimes the students have special requests we deal with in class.
Otherwise I spend my time with the boys and girls at the centre. There is always something to while away the time. Even if it is just a game of volleyball played with a water ball we found at the beach.
What else happened: The full moon festival is about to happen. I hope I understood everything correctly:
According to Buddhist belief, the full moon is an important event. For this reason, people enter the temple the day before so on 16 October no classes were held at the centre. Instead, during the day, I went to the house of the English teacher near the temple together with the boys. Once again, I was allowed to taste various dishes. Also, we found the time for a game of feather ball.
Each temple also celebrates once a year a big festival at one of the full moon deltas. As I learned later, this feast took place this day in the Colombo Temple, where we had stopped on our way from the airport to Matara after my arrival. For this reason I started with Reverent Vipassi and the boys together towards the evening with the van towards Colombo. It was already dark when we reached the temple. Lights and lanterns had been hung everywhere. At the first moment, I could not believe that it was the same place I have seen before. Everything looked so different.
Finally, all gathered in the small hall of the temple. While the monks were sitting in the front seats, the rest of the people sat down on the ground. There followed a half-hour, I suppose it was a prayer hour, in which the monks alternated with the church speaking chants. In the course of this, a white thread was passed through. The beginning of the thread was attached to a teapot. Already after the first five minutes on the floor I thought my back would collapse. After the end of the talk everyone was given another white ribbon as protection. Already shortly after this ceremony we started to Matara again. At first it was planned to stay there overnight, but Reverent Vipassi had to be back at the temple in Matara the next day.
Visitors. In the meantime, we were given a visit to a group of mentally impaired people from the nearby psychiatry. This visit was followed by an invitation to an event of psychiatry where they presented self-made sewing, embroidery and much more, that they had produced during their treatment and therapy and now offered for sale.
We also got visited by Amanda and Eric, who, as I now know, are godparents of Gayan and his brother. They are currently in Sri Lanka to examine their own project located in Mirissa a few kilometres from Matara. Their project deals with a kindergarten and computer or sewing courses. For this reason, a new building was constructed, which was about to get inaugurate by them. I was also invited to this inauguration together with Reverent Vipassi. For this occasion, a small procession through the village was arranged.
Once again I received an invitation from the preschool. This time, they presented the tinkles made by themselves last year. There were in my opinion some very interesting ideas.
The trip. On Monday afternoon, I was told that Reverent Vipassi had organised a trip for the next day. For this I should be picked up at 5:30 at my accommodation. At about 6:00 pm, the van finally stopped by with Reverent Vipassi, the two secretaries, Gayan, Nadun, Govindi and a driver of the van. I had no idea where we were going or what we were about to do there.
During a short stopover at a restaurant I once again experienced a for me rather unpleasant part of the present culture. I already expected Reverent Vipassi to sit at his own table and the women and girls sitting separately at their own table. However, I did not expect to be seated separately as well. So, we sat on four tables. The situation was a bit unpleasant to me, so I was glad when we left again and went on. After three hours, we reached a waterfall.
Since the waterfall didn’t carry a lot of water we were able to climb on the now free laying rocks. Especially our driver did this very well. From time to time we lost sight of him and then suddenly would appear somewhere above us.
When we returned from our climbing tour, Rev. Vipassi was involved in a conversation with some tourists and called me there. It was a travel group from Frankfurt. The conversation ended in an invitation of the Reverent for them to the temple. We will see if they take the invite.
We went on with the Van up the hill. The higher we came, the foggier it became. Nevertheless, I also got a look at the famous tea fields. At a restaurant, we stopped again for lunch. To my astonishment this time I sat together with the guys and the driver at a table. I have no explanation why it was different this time.
After the tour of a small park failed, as it was unfortunately closed, we slowly drove down the mountain again.
The mist disappeared and gave a clear view of the wide landscape. Finally, we reached open ground again. At a small shop, we bought some bananas, because, on the next road, we made contact with elephants.
It was a strange feeling: breaking, opening window, handing over the bananas, an emerging trunk snapping of the bananas and then driving on. It was funny
Our last stop took us to the temple in Kataragama. If I got it right, this is a meaningful place for Buddhists.
Afterwards we went back to Matara.
Tea breaks of course also were part of the day. The last one took us to the house of the driver and his family.
Till next time