Hanna Carson’s gap year visit to Kamburupitiya

On 20th February 2017 Hannah Carson, the daughter of Mr Neil and Helen Carson  who have donated two beautiful libraries  to children,  visited the  UKFG funded  schools  at Kampurupitiya at the invitation of Mr Sirisena Gamage . She was accompanied by the fellow gap year students, Lizzie, Saskia and Milan.  The children of    Ulalla, Rathanjothi, Thumbe and Massmulle schools gave them a tremendous welcome.  They were mesmerised by the  4 VIPS from England

After meeting 1000 of children and getting to know many on the first day, they spent the night at Mr Gamage’s house enjoying the delicious Srilankan food cooked by Mrs Prema Gamage.

During the rest of the week, they spent a day  each at the 4 schools teaching the kids maths and English as well as playing  games , dancing and singing with them.  They also played cricket, Football and Volleyball . 

Here is what Hannah has to say about their unforgettable week…..

Our unforgettable week with the smiling children of  Kamuburupitiya 

-Hannah Carson –

“What an unforgettable week. I feel so lucky to have visited such amazing kids, inspirational teachers and families extremely generous. When we arrived in Kamburupitiya we were treated to a feast of Sri Lankan delicacies – what more could we want. (Dammi and Rattaran Malli, you were very kind to us.)

On day one we visited three schools, Thumbe, Ratanapala and Ullala school, the children greeted us with hand picked flowers and lined the streets. It was truly overwhelming, we have never been welcomed so nicely! (We soon learnt that ‘welcomes’ are something Sri Lankans do very well, as all three schools treated us like royalty from the moment we arrived!) 

Day two, we had our first day as teachers. What a day it was! A highlight was joining the dance class at Ratanapala school. It felt like the whole school was packed into this small classroom, we all danced together, all heights, students small to tall were dancing in unison, for what seemed like an hour. It was a touching moment, everyone was so happy. We were touched that children with so little here in Sri Lanka seemed happier than a lot of the privileged children back in England. We rested well that evening after enjoying a lovely set of curries made by our host Mrs Gamage.

Day three we visited Thumbe School. We enjoyed their weekly school market immensely. It gave us a chance to buy some groceries for our hosts! I bought 5 king coconuts, not realizing how heavy they are! A lot of games of ‘Pictionary’ and ‘hangman’ were played once back in the classroom, and the children were brilliant at spelling. We sang songs and played games all day, it was a lot of fun. One moment that sticks in my mind from that day was making ice creams for the children. They very politely waited while we would put them together, and were so grateful with the treat. It was truly special for us to witness. Later on that afternoon, the boys played cricket while the girls played netball! Then, in true Sri Lankan style, we had a dance off! We could not compete with some of the older girls who had all the moves, much more gracefully than we did.

On day four we were at Ullala School, a day of sports and cooking, my favourite activities. In the heat we were not used to it. I played Netball and it was so nice to bond with my teammates when we scored a goal. Even though it was more difficult for us to communicate, playing sport allowed us to really interact, have fun and get to know one another, without the need for language. We then went to the cooking lesson, and learnt how to make kotthu rotti by Ullala’s lovely cooking teacher. It was delicious! 

Day five was a sports day, and in the heat we played volleyball, netball and cricket! The children were no longer in their very smart school uniform but in home clothes, like I was. It was a great day of fun and games. Ever since leaving the twon, I really started to miss the children, all were so friendly, polite and welcoming. They were all such a credit to their schools. 

This week could not have happened without the help of so many people. You all cared for us so well. Thanks to Devsiri and Laksiri for all their organisation, to Mr and Mrs Gamage for their kind hospitality, for Dammi and Rattaran Ayya for being our parents for the week, to the headmasters and headmistress, the teachers and of course the students. We will never ever forget meeting you all, and the week we spent in your lovely village.”

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