Sunday, 18 April 2010

Day 16 Rotary Club of Kandy and Day 17 Rotary Club of Nuwara Eliya

Day 16 (Weds 24th March )

In the morning we split up again; Jim and Ayesha were going to open another toilet facility in a school; whilst the rest of the team were being hosted byRotoractors from the Rotary Club of Kandy. Unlike the UK the Interact (14-18) and (18-30) are prolific in many of the Clubs in Sri Lanka. Kandy has 26 Interact Clubs and 16 Rotoract Clubs. This is quite remarkable! Schools are invited to set up these clubs and a Rotarian will be given the task of oversight and work closely with the staff. If only this could happen in the UK!
The team went to the Botanical Gardens to experience the beautiful flora, fauna, bird life and...fruit bats...hundreds of fruit bats...

Jim went to another school which on the face of it was a little better equipped. Pujapitiya School had approximately 400 pupils just as a Primary School. The welcome was astounding with the children forming a marching band and all the school can out to welcome the VIP guests.

Flags were hoisted and the chilldren sang the national anthem with real conviction. Proud to be Sri Lankan.
The vote of thanks was given by a pupil aged 9 years and then the block was opened.

It was a very proud moment and Jim felt privileged to be there; yet had not been involved the project at all.

Again the extensive use of matching grants from the Rotary Foundation had facilitated this work.
Jim was taken to a rural Sri Lankan dwelling where he was introduced to the custom where a glass of water is passed around the guests; you would think to share but no it was just to touch the glass! By this act you had accepted the invitation to take food and drink with your hosts.

We all met up afterwards in the centre of Kandy in a restaurant called "The Pub" - very promising; and there we shared our stories of the morning.

The evening was the Kandy Club meeting and Ladies night at the Kandy Rugby Club. We had had a wonderful time in Kandy and we all wanted this night to be special.

But first a group photo followed by one of our versions of the presentation. And yes this did yet again include the three legs of Man!

At the end we presented President Ayesha with the cash for the sick room. As part of the meeting each of the political candidates had been invited for a hustings. This seemed at first contary to normal practice as Rotary is a non political organisation; but it was obvious that in order for Rotary to get permission to do what it does the two must work together. It was run exceptionally well. Jim was introduced to Dr Sarath Amunugama; one of the top politicians in the country.

We then played much to our delight "musical chairs" which Michelle won! Followed by a few moves...

But nothing could cap the Salsa Demonstration by Dan.

What a great team!

Day 17 Rotary Club of Nuwara Eliya

Back at the Queens 9.00am we were off to the tea country. On our tour so far we had seen the packaging, tasting and auctioning but not the picking and processing. It was quite a drive mainly uphill past the most astouding countryside. Deep valleys and quite high hills and incredibly "bumpy roads"...more of that later. We were to visit the Labookella tea factory but we missed it ! as one of our hosts dozed off. He was quite cross and ensured we say it on the way back. We therefore went to Mackwoood's. The first thing that strikes you about this area is the Scottish connection; and then the beautiful green lush countryside. As we got closer there were tea bushes everywhere totally carpeting the landscape. The tour followed and we began to see how and why there were so many teas from one tea bush. it was in the rolling, drying and processing.

Lunch was provided by the Rotary Club of Nuwara Eliya and President Rajathurai. Later we then had an opportunity to explore the town. The weather was just like Manchester on an average day and true to form it started to rain but it was a great deal cooler. Interestingly enough our hosts thought we would be very comfortable in this climate...How wrong could they be!

We all visited the oldest post office in Sri Lanka. Not very old at all!

On the way back we stopped off at the other factory and saw the tea pickers arrive at the end of their shift with the large bags of tea leaves. They had been out all day in the fields... once amazed by the manufacture of the humble tea bag; when you see the whole process end to end one should never rush a good cuppa!

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