In Colombo with Humaid’s help, we had opened an account for Nasmeela, the younger daughter of Sifaya. We put 1,000 Swiss francs into the account and the girl will receive on her 18th birthday either in our or Humaid’s presence, 2,800 Swiss francs which will be a nice dowry.
Before we took off for Sri Lanka, Mrs. Rosemarie Müller had contributed 500 Swiss francs and after talking to her she agreed that we put it into Nasreen’s account. Our heartiest thanks to her, again.
A visit at Sifaya’s house made us once more aware that the money will never be used for education. Nasreen and Nasmeela were fussing around their little brother in a way it is only done in countries where this ability is most important for girls. They will need a good dowry one day. Humaid had told us right after the tsunami that our high flying plans of giving them a good education would not be possible in Hambantota.
This was supposed to become different with Ruhi. We were in complete awe to meet a young lady – what a beauty. She is supposed to go in about two years to a boarding school either in Tangalle or Colombo. They did not understand our objections that she would be way too little to go to a boarding school. She would be an exceptional good student and this would be the normal procedure and the only way to get a good education. To learn that the boarding schools are headed by Catholic Nuns, added to our amazement. But it seemed to be the only possibility to send a girl there.
We will look at a boarding school in the future and get further information. After that, we will contact her Auntie Christine and Uncle Max to talk about the costs of approximately 80 Swiss francs for the boarding school.
The newest information about the CCF (the Christian Child Fund) from th
e grandfather was the following: every six months he had to take a letter for the sponsors to the CCF office; and that Ruhi received during the last 15 months, a school map and for her birthday 800 rupees, about 7 Swiss francs. Most of the sponsors of big NGOs might not be aware of how little of their money ends up with their sponsored child.
Resla had celebrated in February, her 16th birthday and she will continue school in Hambantota. Her Auntie Monika had given us some extra pocket money for the girl and Resla was delighted to receive it.
We were able to congratulate Maduka on his 15th birthday on March 5th in person and next to this: boah …… have you been growing – feeling there were a couple of hardly visible hairs on his chin!
The biggest surprise was his cousin Bomali: the girl had slimmed down considerably and for the first time fit into ready-made clothes.
I was not a big help at the shopping trip with her. Whatever I picked, and they had very nice stuff at the shop, was kindly refused by mother and daughter. All they wanted was turquoise and pink; and preferably with some rhinestones all over it. The jeans that Bomali fit into had quite some excess length in the legs but this could be altered. We only had to go for fabric for the dresses, as she was still a bit out of proportion.
I asked Bomali`s mother about the change and she told us that Bomali was visiting the regular school despite her being mentally behind her age and had been enrolled in a drill program. As there is a growing problem in Sri Lanka with overweight children, the government introduced those programs and the girl was participating with great pleasure. Along with that, she would sit on an exercise bicycle at home for hours.
Bomali was beaming with pride about our compliments and we promised to buy her the most beautiful dress in the Hambantota district the next time around, if she would keep up with her exercise.
Humaid and Michel were assisting the boys buying shoes and clothes and they too had their own taste. Maduka was very happy and told us repeatedly that this had been the best birthday of his life. He is such a loveable boy and we look forward to witness his future growth.
Roy introduced a widow with two boys to us and maybe we would find a sponsor for them. As the sponsorship for Resla will end in two years, and Maduka’s in three, we would be able to take over the responsibility.
After a very busy and eventful week we went to Kalutara to our holiday resort. There we relaxed and pampered ourselves and for the first couple of days we did not much more than to be lazy! We (almost) got to understand the cricket rules and were cheering with the locals for the Sri Lankan team.
To visit our friends in Colombo we did hire a driver this time and the time passed very fast.