On the Thursdays, the orphanage is closed for visitors and volunteers. I wanted to experience another program and joined the volunteers in a preschool.
The preschool is a kindergarten for kids 3-5 years old from the families with low social-economic level. A middle-aged couple established the preschool many years ago and they were proud to show us the photo album with kids, shows and also the preschool graduates coming to visit when they are adults. They were very happy to welcome us to the preschool and explained that the volunteers benefit the kids by giving them love, care, one-on-one time and the opportunity to practice the language with native English speakers.
The kids were soooo cute! They all were wearing a uniform. The day starts with teachers standing in front of the class and conducting different activities, like morning pray, meditation (!), singing in English, etc. Then the kids were doing different activities according to their age. The teachers were very nice to kids, helping them with their tasks, praising for even minor success and motivating to progress. The teachers instructed the volunteers to do the same.
Every kid brings his/her own lunch box and with the teacher’s assistance puts a napkin on the table and eats the lunch.
During the recess, I mentioned that I brought a couple of magic tricks to show to a class. The manager and his wife were excited and said they will gather the whole preschool (~100 kids). I warned that the tricks are rather for the small groups and some of the kids might not see the details. Nevetherless, they wanted all kids to watch.
In the end, I’m not sure who enjoyed more – the kids or the adults. Everybody loves magic tricks.
After the parents took their kids from the preschool, only 4 kids stayed in the daycare and we had an opportunity to talk with the teachers.
One teacher, who is a mom of the two grown-up kids, said she considers the kids in her class as her own kids. I can say she told the truth by watching her interacting with children.
We also discussed arranged-marriages and love-marriages. The majority of the marriages in Sri Lanka are still arranged. This topic is especially interesting for me, as a relationship coach. I asked what happens if the couple in the arranged-marriage is incompatible either by their personalities or sexually. One of the teachers answered that they either divorce, which is rare, or the woman will suffer for life… I really don’t know why she thinks that only the woman is suffering.
This is one of the benefits I liked so much in this voluntourism trip. As a volunteer, you have an opportunity to dissolve among the local people and learn about the culture from inside.
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