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A very busy week

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This has been a busy week.  Between classes I have been preparing for my teacher workshop.  The staff has looked after me though.  Each morning Anthony has sent me over some breakfast and a thermos of hot, might I add, Tim Hortons, coffee.  All you can get here is instant so the big can of Tim Hortons we brought over for Anthony has been shared with me.  Trust me, at 7 in the morning it is sure appreciated.  Also whenever I feel hungry or the need for a break I walk over to the office and food magically appears on the table! Gotta love it!

Yesterday was one of the ladies New Year celebrations.  Nilu (one of my students) had sewed me a sari.  She lent one of her own to Amanda.  Before the event began they even came to help get Amanda dressed and ready.  It was interesting to see how they pinned and wrapped the material around Amanda to get the material to drape just so for the complete outfit. My sari was the style you wear like a dress with slits on the side and trousers underneath.  Much easier and also way more comfortable!  That style is not quite as dressy buy definitely my preference.

This celebration was the one I chaired.  There were women from 4 different villages present.  You can tell which they come from from the color of sari they wore. Rose staff was busy all week preparing for the event.  It was held on the office grounds which the staff had prepared by flying the Canadian and Sri Lankan flags at the entrance.  They had set up the speaker system, set out chairs, ect.  There were many different competitions, everything from seeing who could grind up a coconut the fastest to who could eat a bun, hanging from a string, the fastest.  As with any event of over a hundred women there was much laughter, visiting, eating and all around fun. I opened the celebration with welcoming them and some of the special guests.  I had practiced the many syllable names so hopefully they recognized their own name when it was said!  Another tradition of the event is lighting of the wicks.  There’s a tall brass stand with wicks sitting in oil.  Each guest lights one of the wicks so I began the ceremony with lighting the first wick.  Some others spoke then the fun began.  I will post the pictures showing the different events when I get time later this week.  Part way through the afternoon food and drinks were passed around.  The weather even got in on the fun by giving us a cooler breeze and less intense sunshine!  At the end of the day prizes were handed out.  I had the honor of congratulating the first prize winners and giving them their gift. Rose staff had bought, wrapped and labeled the gifts in preparation for the event.

One thing I noticed after the girls’ sports event earlier in the month was the littering.  I mentioned at the end of the meet that had I been in charge before the girls left for home I’d have given them a bag to run around picking up litter and just generally cleaning up the grounds.  Again at the end of this event I noticed the same thing. Empty milk boxes, papers with number and name tags, ect. were left in the yard and on the road leading to the yard.  There does not seem to be an efficient garbage disposal system.  You will walk along and there will be an area with garbage thrown.  I guess that’s how many animals survive; dogs route through and eat, then the odd goat, cat or cow, and finally the many birds pick at it.  The rains come on it, sometimes I see someone burning it and once in awhile it disappears so someone maybe picks it up.  Today I had the first of my teacher inservice and I placed a garbage can out and asked for everyone to please use it.  At the end of the day one of the staff gathered it up and burned it in the back of my yard.  A definite improvement but I still had a complaint as the plastic water bottles melted into the atmosphere!  One step at a time!!!

As you gathered I did the first of my 2 day workshop today.  I got up at 7 and  organized my area to hold the 30 odd teachers that attended.  In my yard are two areas to have classes or meetings.  One is larger and has tables for desks.  It has a smooth cement floor which I swept out.  All I would have had to do was ask any staff member to help me and they would have been over asap to do whatever I needed but I had forgotten so there I was sweeping and cleaning tables and chairs to start my day.  The other area is not quite as big but still has a roof over it (blocks out the intense sun) and a cement floor.  I also swept and set out 35 chairs in that space.  I did my teaching in the big area but my singing and games in the other one so we’d have room for movement.

By shortly after 9 we were all singing, doing actions and fingerplays, learning games and hopefully learning lots that they will share with the preschoolers in the months to come.  I had prepared a thick booklet of samples of everything I think should be in a preschool curriculum.  Throughout the day we went through some the the things and practiced how they could use the ideas in their schools.  I could easily tell which were the teachers from the english preschool.  They were intensely involved and picking up my ideas and instructions.  Many cannot speak english so it was harder for them.  I had guys there to interpret and translate for me so that was a bonus!  Some things you did not really need language for.  Just the movement, actions, etc. were readily picked up.  My interpreters and a couple others sat on the sidelines and many times I looked over to see them enjoying the show we were putting on! Oh what fun to be a kid!!

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