After the usual morning meditation, the sister asked me to join Sophie, a French woman who volunteers in the orphanage for the last 6 months.
Sophie always works with the students on the wheelchairs. I was really lucky to do different kinds of activities: on the first day to play with the students in the class, on the second day to do the physiotherapy and today to work with the students on the wheelchairs together with Sophie. She is leaving home at the end of the next week and does not want to throw “a big farewell party” to cause minimal pain and sadness to the students.
Sophie was amazing! She hugged and kissed the students, she laughed with them, introducing them to me and me to them, asking them their names and pretending she is confused. Then she showed me how to work with the students, involving all five senses: talk to them and ask questions (hearing), give them to smell a body lotion (smell), apply the body lotion on their hands and if they like it, on their face (touch), show them their reflection in a small mirror and say that they are beautiful (vision), feed them with a cookie mixed with water (taste).
We divided the students between Sophie and me. It was very cute when some of the students wanted me and not Sophie to work with them! Sophie teased them with her strong French accent: “Ooooh! You want Jozeffff, young girllll!”
My favorite was V. – a lovely girl with a beautiful smile, intelligent and with a sense of humor. She is the only one in this group, who can express herself using a couple of words. When I applied the body lotion to her face she closed her eyes, smiled and enjoyed so much that it touched me deeply.
This day was Michelle’s, one of the volunteers, birthday and I talked with Sophie, suggesting to have students to sing her a birthday song. Sophie talked with the sister, who should approve everything, and she agreed. The sister called Michelle and I called other volunteers to join the noon prayer. Michelle was confused – we never stopped feeding the girls on the wheelchairs and joined the prayer. After the sister and about 30 students finished their prayer, everyone turned to Michelle simultaneously, started singing “happy birthday” and clapping. It was perfect timing! Michelle was close to crying. She said it was the best birthday of her life!
In the evening I went for a walk in the city and found a small, cute park. In every hidden corner, there was a couple of young Sri Lanka people, hugging and kissing secretly. My explanation is that Sri Lanka is a very conservative country with strong family values. It’s very inappropriate to show affection or passion (no no no!) in public. So the young dating couples, are forced to find places to cuddle…
Most of the young people in Sri Lanka don’t date. Their marriage is arranged, based on their cast and astrological compatibility. Just like in India. The cast of the boy and girl must not be exactly the same, but could not vary too much.
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