A very big surprise at the house of Maduka’s Aunt: the boy had been attending a college in Matara since last summer! He had passed his O-level test with very good marks and would go for graduation in two years at the St. Servatius College as he would like to go to the university.
Bomali was at home and she had slimmed down some more. Of course, we kept our promise to get her the prettiest dress in town and also bought her some skirts, t-shirts and denims. The smile of the girl was the best thank you!
Late in the evening a very tired Maduka arrived in Hambantota. Once he learned that we were visiting, he had taken the two hour bus ride to greet us. We hardly could believe our eyes: we faced a solemn young man! He was delighted about the laptop we presented to him and no, he had not played soccer in a long time. He would simply not have time for it. He went to school till one o’clock and took tutoring classes in the afternoon, and also on the weekends. He needed to study every spare minute and would only return to his Aunt`s house on holidays.
He shares a room with two other boys in a boarding house where they also get their meals. We asked him how he was managing with the costs? And why on earth he did not tell us about the change? Our monthly contribution would surely not cover a boarding school! After a shy glance to his Aunt, he replied that she was helping him. The tension that the whole family is putting all their hopes in him, was literally touchable.
We told him that we had never counted on this improvement in his school career and that we were very happy about it. He should make us a list of his monthly expenses and we would adjust our contribution starting next month. For the first time the boy did not shake our hands to say good bye. Instead we both got a very warm embrace! He went back to Matara the same night as he did not want to miss his Saturday classes.
Two days later we received his list by e-mail: Rs. 5500 for boarding and meals, Rs. 3900 for tutoring classes in Biology, Physics and Chemistry and a personal allowance of Rs. 2000. We will increase our payment to CHF 85.- a month and the money will be sent to his Aunt.