Together with Roy we visited three different kindergartens and it was an emotional up and down.
Close to Zariya`s house, a big organization had built a fancy kindergarten for 60 children soon after the tsunami. Our eyes almost popped out at the sight of the toilets, as they would have easily suited a five star hotel.
At the time of our visit, there were only 16 students left, as most of the families had moved to Siribopura. No one was paying the salary of the teacher any more or even cared about that kindergarten. Soon the kindergarten would be torn down, as would all buildings in that area, because of the enlargement of the harbor.
A terrible waste especially if you compared it to a kindergarten close to “our” house in Siribopura. A simple hut was housing 23 children and they had to manage with close to nothing. The parents had done their utmost, building this on a piece of land in the community. After we left, Roy was to try to get a 99 year contract for the land from the government; and we would start to save up money.
As some of our investment had been lost when the Rainbow Kindergarten was moved to the teacher’s house, we wanted to secure a future investment for all parties before making any decisions. We handed a bag with a coloring book, some crafts material, crayons and a chocolate bar to each child. Once the first child discovered the chocolate and held it up in the air, their singing became rather disharmonic.
The visit to the Rainbow Kindergarten was pure pleasure. The kindergarten was shining in country specific and child friendly colors; and the playground equipment was in perfect condition. The teacher of the kindergarten expressed her gratitude in the name of the children. She would withdraw the payments from Mrs. Hofer every three to four months and was investing it in additions to the kindergarten. Soon, she might be able to build an additional annex.
An example of the creativity of Sri Lankan children with simple resources, we got to see at the school of Roy`s nieces and nephews. The Grade Nine students had been working on a project about foreign countries and had to set up a pavilion to show to their fellow students, the respective environment and serve country specific food.
There was a Bedouin tent from Saudi Arabia, and next to it the Taj Mahal, right between Hawaiian dancers and a British mansion. The princess was wearing a very British hat and the fish and chips looked quite authentic.