Jemma Burton

On my return to Sri Lanka I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. This time I was working in the Frangipani School and instead of working on the build I was to be a member of the teaching staff!
When I left two years ago the foundations were in and the workshop next door was mere weeks away from opening, this time I arrived on site to a completely different situation. It was amazing to see the difference that had been made to the community, not only to the children and I was taken under the wing once again by Chaini, my Sri Lanka mummy. Working in the school for a month meant so much to me, I was able to connect with the children in a way that I didn’t ever believe I could and the language barrier was overcome within days once we had all realised that running around at playtime and having tickling fights was a great way to have fun! I also had great fun trying to teach the kids some new nursery songs although I think they taught me more than I was able to teach them. Once school was out I had the afternoons free and I used my time to paint murals on the walls to fill up the white space in the hall. One morning we watched the lion king and then that afternoon I got to painting and the it was great to see the children recognising the characters that I had drawn on their walls! I also painted the alphabet in the classroom and the children were teaching me their Sinhalese alphabet as I was painting it, I think I mastered 4 of the 35 odd letters which made me feel a bit stupid in comparison to the 3-5 year olds that could count, sing and say a few words in English! All in all it was an amazing experience and I was really glad that I was given the opportunity to return to such a wonderful country and community. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering the trip and Sarah definitely has made a difference to so many people’s lives both in Sri Lanka and back in Guernsey!