There were no changes at all: the instant familiarity with the sites, the sounds and smells, the warm and welcoming hospitality, the spicy curries and the long nights with the “do you remember” stories.
The time of travel to Hambantota gets shorter every time. In the meantime the highway is now finished to Matara. Much to our surprise we did not only travel through rubber plantations but also through tea estates, even seeing a tea factory. We had always thought that they only grew tea in the high lands.
When we arrived at the Kindergarten we found the kids dressed in aprons and bonnets. Full of enthusiasm they were about to prepare a fruit salad. The result looked more like compote but was very tasty. Much to their joy each of us ate a big portion and then we were allowed to look at all the beautiful handicrafts.
Inaya and the boys are doing fine. The boys were happy about our visit and the presents from their sponsors. I left it to Michel and Roy to accompany them on their shopping trip. The boys together spent the same amount as Ruhi and were done in a fraction of the time.
Maduka’s e-mails were also meager and not very substantial. He would study as much as possible. Then at the beginning of the year we got the news that he passed English and Biology, but failed Chemistry and Physics. He will repeat the tests in August. As we had our conversation with Resla the night before I was still somehow fed up.
We always look forward to seeing Ruhi. Along with her Grandparents, her uncle, auntie and her two cousins were also at home. We spent a fun afternoon.
I told Ruhi years ago that I wished for a Granddaughter like her and asked her whether she could remember? I told them that my wish had come true and of course they had to look at pictures. Nobody was spared of that.
We visited Chammi bringing the usual big purchase of groceries. Her husband had been working in Oman for seven months now and he was doing fine this time. He sends her some money every month. She did not have much work as the people needed to eat first. Because of the upcoming holidays (Singhalese and Tamil New Year) she did have a lot of work at the moment.
The new project in Kirinda is a full success. The balances of the accounts were accurate to the last Rupie with and all the women having made their installments. Roy’s friend in charge of the program had been able to give out two more credits from the installment pool. Now there was enough money to provide four more women a credit. The number of credits in Kirinda is now at 26!
Asjath was thrilled about our visit and the box of Lego Duplos we had for him. After a close look at the blocks and what I was doing with them, he immediately took to it and was constructing with ardor. Not without once in a while taking a look at Michel’s bag with the sweets…….