Aug 7, 2009, Pussellawa
Holiday break! Well the truth is that I felt sick of the heat in the south, my arms and legs were covered with strange red dots – a long weekend into the cool mountain climate can be a therapy:-P
It was a coincident that I stepped in Saraswathy Central College in the middle of the mountains. After a 2-hour adventure on several wrong buses (|||), I met a warm-hearted lady on a bus, (finally someone speaks English! Orz-) She told me that she is an English teacher in a primary school, and she is now going to work. “In the mountains?” “Yes, it takes me an hour everyday.” “How is the area?” “Very poor.” I didn’t hesitate and went off the bus with Renuka.
This is the mountain area in Central Sri Lanka. Pussellawa, the name of the town, is right in the middle between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, where prosperous in tea planting, boomed in tourism, yet under poverty among peasants. It is a huge area.
I was brought to the classrooms by a teacher. Like many times before, students were warm. Teachers were also showing extreme friendliness to me. Students followed the teacher’s “instruction” to greet me in English, and even sing a song to welcome me. As an “unexpected visitor”, I was fluttered indeed :-P They didn’t prepare for this, they just like to see you there and smile to you. What lovely people!
Photo 25: You can see some shoes are totally worn out...
Photo 26: Student attendance in Grade 12 class.
The teacher sometimes told me in person a student that needs special help. I saw these children having class, playing with their peers, and innocently smiling at me. And I was told that they either lost father, lost mother, or have disable parents. In average, there are 5-6 children of this kind in one class of 30. I also noticed that over half the students don’t have proper shoes, many are already worn out (badly, you’d have thrown it away 3 years ago in the US), and some with slippers on or simply bare feet. Note that it is as cold as UK here in the mountains, unlike the rest of Sri Lanka.
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