NEWS

SUCH AN EXPERIENCE

Moama Anglican Grammar School students and staff have recently returned from their Service Trip to Sri Lanka. Working alongside Habitat for Humanity, the group explored Sri Lankan culture and helped build houses for those who are less fortunate. Students Kerrie Dick and Angus Mawson blogged about their experiences; their third entries are below.

Kerrie Dick
June 23
Our second day of working arrived and yes, it was hot and steamy – nothing unusual for the usual Sri Lankan day. Breakfast consisted of poori with crushed potato, quite delicious.
It wasn’t long before we returned to our worksite and met with our translator, Wilson, a born legend. The morning’s jobs consisted of moving more bricks, more sand and small stones.  We began to witness the rapid growth of the house, as the walls continued to rise higher.
We had music playing and Wilson was dancing along and so was the rest of the team.
This sadly resulted in me ripping my second pair of pants – the first pair ripped yesterday while working.
Our team changed build sites, moving down a few streets.
Our job was to move sand, stones, water and concrete mix to make the concrete for the house being built.
Our muscles and minds were tested, but we managed to pull through. We found the other team located on a nearby cricket pitch (a bare paddock like arena) playing what seemed to be a game of cricket.
Our cricket skills began to attract the locals as they appeared from nowhere.
We girls playing cricket got strange looks from the local boys, as girls playing cricket was a rare sight. Others had a soccer ball out that unfortunately fell into a nearby well.
We taught many of the younger local boys how to kick with an AFL footy.
The children were gorgeous but very nervous to speak English.
We said goodbye to them and returned to our hotel.

June 24
Breakfast continued in a blur as bleary eyes appeared at the table.
We changed working teams, having three captains.
Teams appeared to be stronger than ever and excitement built around whose team could do the most work.
Our team changed to a new building site. It was hot (again) as we moved bricks from one place to another.
One of the men climbed a nearby coconut tree, chopped a few down and then cut them open for us to drink.
We headed back to the hotel for lunch and had a rest before red bricks began to call our names once again.
We only worked for an hour and half moving sand as well as bricks.
We were having competitions of who could pick up the most bricks and Mr Rudge set the record with 10, although others weren’t far behind.
Unfortunately my second and last go at picking up a mass amount of bricks, was interrupted by yet another pair of pants ripping (those being my supposedly indestructible pants).
Our extra half an hour was used to play cricket once again.
Locals returned once again, eager to learn some more AFL tricks and show off their cricket skills.
The little girls were excited to show us some new games and run around, racing with our tired legs. We said goodbye yet again to the children and made our way home.
A quick change around for some of us as we made our way to the beach.
It was a quick, refreshing swim, and we returned for our meal.

Angus Mawson
June 23
Waking up, we staggered out of our rooms, down the helix staircase, to our breakfast. Dressed to go; bandanas dampened, drink bottles filled to the brim, caps and sunnies on in readiness and sunscreen applied.
After brekky, we were treated to a Welcome PowerPoint and were introduced to Francis, the head of Habitat for Sri Lanka, and the rest of the crew.
He thanked us sincerely, emphasising how much we were helping the families, both financially and labour-wise.
Following a quick OH&S briefing, we were bussed to the worksite.
It is just a five-minute drive to the neighbourhood we are aiding.
Stray cattle, goats and dogs roamed aimlessly in the heat.
Becaks sped along, putt-putting around corners, tooting at spontaneous pedestrians. We slid alongside a palm leaf fence, surrounded by building materials and equipment.
We were split into groups 1, 2 and 3, and then assigned different build sites and got to work.
Within minutes we were filling buckets, stacking bricks and breaking every now and again.
What made the work worthwhile were the people who stopped by.
Boys rode from up and down the street just to say ‘hello!’
The kindness and sheer positivity that rubbed off from them was staggering; they really put a stride in our steps.
The kids were even more amazing.
Two boys from close by came over to say “hi”. Their names were John Isaac and Dashande, and were ecstatic! What started as a game of catch, transformed into a mass scale cricket match on the road, with John Isaac absolutely thwacking every second ball for six.
Many people joined in, attracting somewhat of a sizeable crowd. We returned to the hotel in awe of the sportsmanship and skill of the pair.