Saturday, August 7, 2010
Today, we headed off to the village again at eight o’ clock in the morning for another session with the locals. At 9, the CBSE students went to see a temple, while the IB students stayed back to work with the villagers. The IB people managed to finish shifting the clay before the CBSE students returned at 12. Afterwards, we were able to finish building the platform and cement the pathway around the pavilion. Then, we had an interaction session with the people there. It began with a Bengali dance and a Dandia one afterwards. Then we had a collective interview with the people. The monks specially spoke to us using a person to translate. They burst into tears when they saw us leaving. After we came back to the hotel with our hearts full of the service we had performed, we rested up for a long time. Some of us decided to go for a walk, while some slept instead. Finally, we decided to sleep for the next day.
Today, we woke up, eagerly anticipating the yet-to come experiences of the day. After scrambling and arguing around the showers, we headed out for the village at precisely 8 a.m. It was a 20 minute drive during which the majority of us slept on each others’ shoulders. Upon reaching the village, we were greeted even more grandly than before. A long line of people stared at us from all sides and a small group of dancing people and a band motioned us towards the village. Reaching the village, the people put on a performance for us, beginning with a visit to the temple where we took the blessings of the monks and offered flowers. The program consisted of a dance by the little kids and one by the not-so-little kids. Afterwards we sang the national anthems of both countries and got to work. We began by painting the walls of their main hall and shifting clay to build a platform. The locals were a lot of help. They served us lunch and helped us wherever possible. By the end of the day, we finished painting and were half done with the platform. We had also built a pathway around the hall. We quickly rushed back to the hotel, raced into the shower and back to the village for a special cultural program they had put on for us. The program was amazing with traditional dances and music from Sri Lanka. They received many standing ovations from us. With our heads full of what we had seen, we went back to our rooms and off to sleep.
Today was the first day of the tour. We caught our flight to Chennai on time. We had a lot of fun on the flight. Everyone was happily talking about their experiences. We spent a few hours at the Chennai airport and left at 12:50 for Colombo. Upon reaching Colombo, we quickly collected our bags and left for a 3 hour bus journey. We were awestruck by the breathtaking sights to see of Sri Lanka. Picturesque landscapes were laid out before us and innumerable temples too. After our long drive, we reached the Kandyan Reach Hotel, where we were warmly welcomed with a traditional Sri Lankan dance performed by the locals. They garlanded us with flowers and the deans and teachers lit a tradition lamp. After freshening up, we headed back out to meet a resource person who briefed us on the significance of CAS and Theory of Knowledge. He then gave us the itinerary for the next day, and we headed off to bed.
Everyone here is very eager to leave for the tour. We have all left our packing for the last minute and are hurrying to finish it all before we leave. Tomorrow we wake up at an early 3 a.m. and leave at 5 for our flight. We will reach Chennai and take a subsequent flight for Colombo. All of the students are anticipating the trip with bated breath. During the past few days, we have gone over the schedule for the trip many times. We have also decided all of the groupings for the hotels. Everyone has discussed their plans for airport shopping. Hopefully, we will have enough time. Until next time!