Michel had not seen the kindergarten yet and he was very pleased. As we were running from one appointment to the other, we were late and some of the children had been picked up already.
They are schooling 30 children. When the dozen who remained started to sing for us, they made up for all others!
The art projects of the children (ages four and five) were exceptional and also, the materials that had been used. The dry peel of garlic had become the feathers of a swan, and tea grounds became flower petals.
The children are schooled according to the government regulations, and their schedule was quite versatile. Thanks to the pictograms in the big book which the kindergarten teacher showed me, I was able to understand a lot. The children are educated in hygiene, tact and politeness and on how to treat the environment. Next to that they had to exercise, memorize little poems and songs and do some coloring and painting, following the instructions of the teacher. When the children sang one more song, there was the same line coming up again and again. I asked the teacher to translate and she said it was: “We are well behaving children, we are very good children. “
To the best of my knowledge there is no German children’s song with words like that! Nor English.
When we asked the teacher whether there was something we could contribute, she asked for coloring and crafts material. She also had the problem that during the rainy season, there was rain coming through the rear window. Roy promised we would bring a blind from Colombo when we returned. We went shopping for coloring books, crayons, glue, scissors and crafts materials.
The kindergarten schools children with Singhalese, Tamil and Muslim background and each child had to pay a fee of 200 rupees a month that would have added up to about 60 Swiss francs. “Would have” because the kindergarten teacher told us that not all the parents were able to pay every month and she was not willing to exclude those children.
There were two more ladies at the kindergarten, helping her and sadly, she would not be able to pay a salary to them. It was obvious that she was asking for some kind of financial support.
Because of the generous contribution of the Kiwanis club of Wädenswil , we had been able to build the kindergarten. We had told her at that time, that this would be the only help for the private project and that it was supposed to be a handout to enable her to help herself.
To be the only guests at a hotel with 200 rooms in Hambantota of which 60 of the demolished rooms had been refurbished was only a little hint on what kind of economical problems the people had to deal with.
As we would stop paying the salaries of the kindergarten teachers at the Zahira School by the end of the year, we would discuss with Roy as to how to help the Rainbow Kindergarten.
Maybe we would find a sponsor?