Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

September 2007

This months News



Charity Work in Sri Lanka

I have just returned from a three week World Challenge charity work trip to Sri Lanka with ten girls from my school.  The expedition was split into two parts – a project phase, then a few days visiting other parts of Sri Lanka.

We had two separate projects to complete in a small village called Yatawara, which we had researched in England before travelling out, renovating a Buddhist temple and building an extra classroom for the local school.  Work at the Buddhist temple involved hard manual labour, including breaking up a concrete floor with a hammer and chisel and carrying sand bags on our backs.  It was a bit of a shock for the locals to see girls getting so into the hard work!  It was all worth it and by the end of the first week their temple was looking as good as new, with a newly decorated side building for Sunday school.

There were only fourteen children attending the school which was situated on top of a steep hill.  Our project was to give the school the resources to educate more children by building another more accessible classroom for primary infants.  We had to carry all the building materials up the hill and with the help of local labourers we built a new classroom and redecorated the main building.  In our free time we enjoyed drawing with the children and playing ball games.  Hard work when every time someone misses the ball it runs off down the hill!

The work we did at both the temple and the school was hard but rewarding, and clearly appreciated very much.  After speaking to the teachers, monks and villagers, it was obvious that our work had a massive impact on the community, and it is programmes such as ours that provide small improvements to their impoverished lifestyle.  This was demonstrated even further when local people on the bus struck up conversations with us about the work we were doing, so word clearly spread pretty quickly.

The last few days in Sri Lanka were spent travelling around different parts of the island, enjoying the varied culture, scenery and people.  As Sri Lanka is such a diverse country, we has many amazing experiences, but highlights for me were riding an elephant, walking through tea plantations, climbing Little Adam’s peak to see the sunrise (up at 5am.), and visiting the beautiful beaches.  Driving along the coast, the effects of the tsunami of 2004 were still visible, and even though we could see a lot of repair work, it is obvious that there is still much to do in places that were badly damaged.

This experience has opened my eyes to a whole different way of living, one that those of us who live comfortably in Oxhill and hear stories on the news can only slightly understand.  Seeing the absolute poverty of people dressed in rags, living in shacks, and begging on the streets is a massive culture shock.  The experience that hit home the most was being told by one of the labourers that if he didn’t work for just one day, his children wouldn’t eat that night.

Many people in Oxhill donated towards the cost of the trip and the work that we performed, and I would like to repeat my thanks to them for helping with this valuable and rewarding experience.

Emily Sayer

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Last modified: September 03, 2007