April 3

Sunday, Volunteer Appreciation Day

We went to a beautiful old hotel on the ocean in Colombo. Mount Lavina, it was originally built in 1802 as someone's house. It’s very regal. It reminds me of the Titanic. The wood, brass and finery. We arrive in 4 vans and enter the hotel together. The doormen wear white suits with short pants,white knee high socks and a round bowl type hat with a thing that look like a dart sticking up on top of it. The women greeters dressed in beautiful sarees placed leis made from sweet smelling pink magnolias around our necks. Once we all gather in a lobby with big windows that overlook the ocean, 2 drummers and 2 male dancers begin to entertain us. They were dressed in red costumes with silver coin type ornamentations. This is the third time we have seen this type of dancer, it is a national tradition.

We checked into our rooms and they also were nice. Very western, TV and hot water. Then we met by the pool for the governor’s high tea. This is a British establishment. The high tea included various sandwiches cut small without crusts, cakes and pastries, num, num. We laughed a lot. Then to my room for my hot, clean shower, heavenly, I sat on the balcony overlooking the ocean to dry my hair.

I borrowed a saree from one of the other gals. We had someone to help us dress. Pleating the cloth and wrapping it around my waist then a long drape of fabric over the shoulder. I bought a small short sleeve saree top to wear under it. There were about 10 of us ladies that wore them. 2 of the men wore sarongs, skirts. We had lots of photos taken. We were all standing around the pool area when someone spotted a water funnel in the distance, it came closer as it grew in size high to the sky and down to the water. It was several miles from us. But I started edging my way closer to the building. Then all of a sudden it disappeared.

We were served some orange drinks, and then all 32 of us proceeded to the beach.(2 people left the group for the weekend, a rendezvous without permission) it looked like a survivor episode, it was dark outside, a brick path lined with sticks that held coconuts with fire coming out of the top, that lit the way. Palm trees, and plants all along a path, about 1 city block. We were greeted by the girls from the orphanage and the village, they formed a reception line on both sides, they were dressed in orange outfits, short tops and long skirts, the long arbor was draped with little lights, the girls had their hands together, like they are praying, elbows up and and greeted us with the native "i u boyne" it was very touching.

This was also a fund raising event. Many local high class people attended. They purchased tickets and there was a donation box.
Tables were set with large clay pots of water and silverware wrapped in white linen napkins. A local band was playing. Members of the band were from Evan’s original band 30+ years ago, the Savages. We were treated like royalty. Entertainment by local village dancers. The girls from the village danced for us. And the children from the orphanage. They were not dressed in finery they acted out their current life conditions, shabby clothes, messy hair and a poem was read, the orphanage boys dressed in native costume and also did some kind of a dance. Sometimes things are lost in translation, but it was all so touching.

I took polaroid pictures of all the children for them to keep. I would have to stop taking pictures at times because they would become so distracted wanting their photos. They would began orderly and that would last about 1 minute, soon they were all firmly tapping my arms saying Sue, Sue, photo, photo. Making sad faces pretending to cry. I would have to stop and try again later. But I managed to get the job done with help from others.

A big barbeque buffet was set up, cooks at various stations, the menu, toasted brown egg nest, spicy steaks, chicken drumsticks, ribs, spicy hash brown, sautéed green beans and carrots, various rice's and curries. Then desserts, chocolate mousse, fruit cakes, carmel sauce. Most of the children had never experienced this finery. They did not understand waiting in lines, or even how to move through a buffet.

After the dinner all the volunteers were called up to receive an award plaque. It was so very nice.

The band played and there was dancing with the children. Evan played the bass guitar and sang a few songs. We were surprised at how good they sounded. American music from the 70's. The group song is Imagine by John Lennon.

Here's the words of the song:

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try,
no hell below us, above us only sky, imagine all the people living for today...
Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do,
nothing to kill or die for, no religion too, imagine all the people living life in peace...
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,
no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man, imagine all the people sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will live as one.