With each new trip to Sri Lanka it feels more like coming home. We left October 20th and were happy to leave stress and cold weather behind.
We visited a nursing home for the elderly, the Rainbow Kindergarten, most of the widows and all Godchildren. We were able to attend tutorial classes organized by Roy and I dreamed of a Sri Lankan Army Major for nights in a row ……….. but let’s go one by one.
Roy is our friend, middleman and translator and he was once again of tremendous help. Mostly due to the fact that Michel was visiting also (men are more important in the Sri Lankan society), he took a couple of days off to accompany us on our trip to Hambantota.
We do not want to give the impression that we only “work” in Sri Lanka. Roy`s brother was the General Manager of the Trans Asia Hotel in Colombo and as we were looking for the ultimate restaurant in the hotel, we ran into the Executive Chef. The fact that we knew each other from another hotel in the south guaranteed that we were spoiled rotten for the three days we stayed at the hotel.
Michel had been travelling as always with an almost empty suitcase and we went on long shopping trips. It is hard to find clothes for women (western style) but I did buy crafts, materials for my hobby, and clothes and toys for our grandson
Roy went with us to a nursing home in Makola, a suburb of Colombo. He had a dream to realize something similar in Hambantota and wanted to show us that it could be done with little recourses.
Nursing homes are quite new in Sri Lanka. Most of the time elderly have been looked after by their families but these days a lot of children have gone abroad to work and are not able to take care of their parents personally.
The Director of the nursing home was surprisingly frank and told us about the organization and the financing. Also, adding that rich people would never live in a nursing home. At the time 15 people were living there and he hoped to increase the number to 40. The goal would be for about 20% of the residents to be pensioners, able to make small payments. Besides that, they planned to build three little shops on the compound of the home to generate an income by renting them out.
For the time being, some sponsors would help to provide for the needs of the elderly. We could see for ourselves as he was showing us a booklet with the records about the donations. There were names, dates and the kind of donation. Along with groceries and other donations, there were also some cash donations recorded.
In Hambantota, some elderly people have lost all of their family members and it will be a problem if they rely on help in the future.
With the same openness as he had talked to us, we told the Director that it might be easiest for all involved if we would donate some money. We handed over 160 Swiss francs. That amount will take care of the needs of the nursing home for the astonishing long time of two weeks.
We hope that Roy`s dream will come true one day and that we might be able to contribute to it.