A good example of his authority was the visit at the house of Ruhi’s grandfather. The grandfather almost saluted and the diffuse story about the two different sponsors became a lot clearer.
It was a fact that they had received two payments within the two years from the Christian ChildFund of Australia of approximately 10 Swiss francs each. That was all. The letters of appreciation the CCF were asking from him, he was supposed to write on paper with the letterhead of the organization and he showed us the copies of his letters in Singhalese.
He had to take the letters to the office of the CCF in Hambantota, got a copy of them and they translated the letter and sent it to the sponsor. The office in Hambantota is managing the files of 100 orphans – calculate!
As he was not able to write in English, he had his letter to Christine and Max translated there also, and that way the photograph of the Australian couple must have slipped into their letter.
Roy took with him one of the letters for the Australian couple including their registration number with him, to try to get the details about them. He thinks they have a right to know what happens to their monthly payment of $38 Australian. As opposed to us, they would have the right to ask the CCF for clarification.
Ruhi had become a happy and smart little girl and for some reason believed that a new tsunami will bring her parents back. The grandparents had moved to the house of Ruhi’s late parents right behind their own, while their son with his family had taken over their house. The little one had obviously become familiar with us and for the first time she gave me a shy little kiss on my cheek to say goodbye.
Thanks to Roy we were able to have some open words with the older brother of Fatima about his contacts to the Flutwaisenhilfe Germany. (translation: Flood Orphan Help)
During my research about the wrong photograph in the letter of Ruhi’s Swiss sponsors, I had found Fatima’s data on the homepage of the German organization. I contacted them and they confirmed that the girl had been supported by them after the tsunami. As the support had ended before the one forwarded by us had started, I did not take further actions.
Fatima’s older brother was very firm and told Roy that he had never received any money for Fatima other than the one from Switzerland. Of course, I would contact the German organization again and ask who was supposed to forward their money in Hambantota.
Fatima had finished O-level and would go to school for two more years till graduation.
Once again, we would like to express our heartiest thanks to the Bank Cial. Along with their generous financial support for our projects, they do all transactions to Sri Lanka without asking a fee. Each dime from the money sent off ends up on the account of the individual recipients.
Also, thanks to Roy, we found Resla in the labyrinth of Siribopura. She lived at her grandmother’s house and was the only family member remaining, as she had lost all of her children and grandchildren in the tsunami except Resla. As she was working in the UAE at the time of the tsunami, she still had the family photographs that she had taken with her. Especially the picture of her youngest daughter with a puffy little baby boy was heartbreaking to me and I admired the way she was dealing with her faith.
Resla is the same age as Fatima and will also go for two more years of schooling.
Maduka showed us his broken front tooth. A little rock that had been thrown up in the air by a passing truck had hit his tooth and it had been fixed rather dilettante. We will go to a good dentist later on, to have it fixed a bit more appropriate, especially as the boy has beautiful teeth.
He was delighted about the Swiss army knife we had brought along and promised to handle it very responsibly and with great care.
We planned to go shopping for shoes with him the next day and told him to bring his cousin along. We were prepared to find a couple of children at his house the next day, but along with his cousin of the same age, there was also another cousin, seven year old, Bomali. Of course we took her along. It was a joy to watch the happy little girl at the shoe store getting new shoes.
Her smile left her at the clothes shop as she did not fit into any of the ready made garments. The young and incredibly thin sales girl was not very fond of her customer and when she reached into a bargain bin I had enough! In the same snobby way that she had treated Bomali, I told her to show us fabric as we would go for tailor made clothes!
The smile came back and to take the pain of deciding from Bomali, I had the sales lady cut a long piece of fabric from each of the four bolts the girl had in her selection. Later, we took the fabric to Chammi. Combining the fabric costs with the tailoring of the dresses, skirts and blouses, the total added up to 25 Swiss francs.
In the meantime, Michel was assisting the boys with their shopping. As all children they went for jeans and at the time Michel told them to go for a second pair, the aunt insisted on a “good” pair of pants. Maduka is by far brought up in the poorest environment but his worn out shirt was spotless clean as well as his worn out pants. He was very happy about his new possessions.
He proudly and in rather good English announced that he had his own e-mail address on the school computer and that I could send him e-mails in the future.
We also went shopping with Sifaya and her daughters, also in need of shoes for school. We found some new dresses and stocked up their grocery supply.
Sifaya was complaining about her new husband. He would take care of his children from the first marriage but not of her daughters. Besides that, there must have been some quarreling between him and her parents as they had gone back to their home in the highland.
Her husband had to pay a daily fee of 245 rupees for the tuk-tuk, so there was not much more than a couple of hundreds rupees at the end of the day. Not enough money to support two families. At least he was driving her daughters to school and back.
In the meantime, Sifaya was sitting in the widespread settlement of Siribopura with no opportunity to earn some money. The shop she tried to set up had failed, as her house was in a remote corner of the settlement. Her husband would supply them with most necessities, but there was no money for little wishes of the girls.
We discussed the subject with Roy, and his sister-in-law, Zariya will talk to Sifaya. We had supported her for two years after the tsunami and it would be up to her to come forward with constructive suggestions.