Travel Reports


Help can have unforeseen consequences. Rashmiya’s house was spotless clean and there had been plaster applied to the walls. So there is only the paint missing and some more furniture needed.

Azra and Azeem were happy to receive a present from Tom and Moni.  Rashmiya proudly told us that she finished the installments for the fridge and with the extra money at Christmas, they were able to stay every night at the house. Otherwise, they would have to stay in their old room when her children attended school.

Begutachten der Schulbücher von Azra

Rasmiya mit Ihren Kindern
















Übergabe der Geschenke

Auspacken der Geschenke
















We were completely consternated! The explanation was very simple and we had no problems with the math. She is living in a house for the first time and therefore, faces regular costs for the first time. The water and electricity bills add up to a Rs. 1000 a month (CHF 7.-) and Azra’s classes cost Rs. 1850 a month leaving roughly Rs. 4000 for food, clothing and other necessities. Less than Rs. 134 a day (< CHF 2.-) 

This would be manageable and a lot of people have to manage with less.  But if only their house would be not so far away from the city and the school………. The cost of school transportation was Rs.1200 per child, with an unbelievable number of children in one van or tuk tuk. Single trips with the tuk tuk to the city cost Rs. 150. 

There is a public bus but with a very unreliable schedule. One time the bus would come on time, another time not, and other times pass by without stopping because was already completely overcrowded. On top of it, she could not send the girl on this bus on her own. 

So instead of going with Azra to the bus station before the crack of dawn and leaving Azeem alone, they would stay in their old room at her in-laws, as this would be within walking distance of the school.   

She also lost her cleaning job. She could not possibly work the whole day for Rs. 400, take a tuk tuk for Rs. 300 to be sure to be punctual and at the same time leave her children alone for hours. 

Our faces must have grown longer and longer at Roy’s translations.  Rashmiya emphasized how much better and easier their lives would be, since they could spend most of their time at their own house. She would earn some extra money working as domestic help and most of the time she would get some food to take home for her and the children.

Auspacken der Geschenke

Nach dem Auspacken der Geschenke
















Mit den Geschenken

Das letzte Geschenk - das Fahrrad















Along with our consternation, we felt ashamed.  We should have known better.  We did not take the distance to the city into perspective, and therefore, had not considered the impact of transportation costs.  To our shame, we have to admit that the suburbs of Hambantota are laid out in such a confusing manner that we would not even find the house without Roy’s help.

We are fond of the idea to find a sponsor for Azeem, as well, to ensure that the costs for the school transportation can be covered every month.  This would enable Rashmiya to get a regular job again.  She is doing comparably much better than other single mothers, but it is crazy if you get help you can’t afford………….. 

We gave her Rs. 10,000 to make sure that they can stay the next two months all the time in their house.  Azra’s English classes seemed to be successful:  there was a big smile all over her face when I asked her if she would like it better to return to their house every day … she vigorously shook her head!

Die Legos wurden umgehend ausprobiert

Spielen mit den Legos
















Lego spielen mit der Grossmutter

Azra mit ihrem Geschenk

zu Besuch bei Carema und Roni


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