Ruhi had a new cousin and her grades had worsened, but only in Arabic and Religion. All her other grades were brilliant as ever . She proudly was wearing a tag with the word “Monitor” on it pinned to her school uniform.
The student with the highest mark gets to wear it and she had scored on her last tests in Sinhala and English the maximum of points.
We gave her the card from her sponsors that we had opened before coming, in order to exchange the Swiss money included, with rupees. She tucked the money under the card quite embarrassed. The presents had disappeared in the same speed as it is considered very rude in Sri Lanka to inspect it in front of the donor – or in this case the carrier.
We were taken aback by Ruhi reading the card out loud in excellent English. She only had some problems with the handwriting here and there. Max will have to improve on that in the future J!! Despite her perfect pronunciation, she did not understand all of it. Roy translated it for her, emphasizing the wish of her sponsors to receive a letter in her own handwriting, no matter which language that would be.
Next summer Ruhi will finish Primary School and would like to switch to a bigger school close to Colombo. A brother of her late father lives there with his family and they would welcome Ruhi. The better her marks will be, the bigger her chances to gain admission to a good school as they look for brilliant students. Otherwise, a child has only a chance if the Father is an old boy of the school and/or able to make a big donation.
Roy asked the Grandfather once again about the Christian Child Fund and the answer was the same as every year: a schoolbag and Rs. 1000 for her birthday (CHF 7.20). In exchange he has to bring twice a year a thank-you letter to their office.
At the end of the week we were sitting by ourselves in front of Roy`s relatives’ house. They were taking care of some business while Roy and Humaid had gone for Friday prayers. What a surprise when Ruhi and her Grandfather arrived on his motorbike, bringing Ruhi’s letter in Singhalese for Christine and Max.
We did not share a language with the grandfather and he sat there smiling and nodding his head once in a while. Michel was also holding himself back and so Ruhi and I had some “girl talk”. Most of the time her English was very good considering her age. Otherwise, we helped ourselves with hands and feet!
Whether she would really like to go to Colombo for school, leaving her Gandfather and her cousins?? She rigorously nodded her head and told me that she would like to become a doctor and therefore she had to go to a better school!
A doctor for Babies? or one for Ladies? or even a Surgeon, cutting people open?? No way to the last option, she would like to work at a hospital and help people. But as a doctor she might have to stitch people back together, wouldn’t she? I think she is not quite aware of her future plans yet. J It was fun to chat with her and when Roy`s relatives returned they helped to straighten out some unclear details.
Ruhi would love to meet her sponsors in person! They wrote in their letter they might soon come to visit her.