March 11

It rained last night. I slept so good, when I awoke it was to the sounds of the jungle, frogs, birds and a frog that sounds just like a goat. In the morning we met for breakfast, hard boiled eggs, rice,curry sauce, yummy papaya and mango, lefse type bread, baked bread. Just way too much and very tasty. I continue to try not to eat the sugars and not too much bread. But that's not easy. Plenty of bottled water and hot tea.

We had another meeting after breakfast, we tried to learn some Singhalese. I didn't do too bad in the classroom, but by the time I needed it I couldn't remember a word.

We had to hurry and make gift bags for the village families. Then we piled in the very crowded bus and took off for the CSR office in Columbo. (CSR is the organization that owns the farm)

The driving is absolutely crazy. Three wheelers, motorcycles, cars, vans, buses all weaving in and out horns honking. There are open market type shops lining street after street lots of people milling around. Not a lot of people buying. Each time we go somewhere we get to know a few more people. Because we spend so much time sitting next to them on the bus.

We had lunch at CSR, cheese sandwich, fish balls and veggie pocket. Father Tessa spoke to us and encouraged us to reflect on a few things and another man talked about the needs of a village in N Columbo. Then it was back in the bus. The village is about 30 miles from the farm but it takes 2+ hours to get there.

As we approach the village rubble is everywhere from the tsunami. People greet us as we exit the bus. They have flowers and leis for us. We sit in chairs as a group and the villagers are across from us. Some young girls sing and dance for us. A young boy plays the drum. It is very sweet. The girls are dressed in colorful outfits, they wear a little make up and they have big smiles. They serve us cake, pop and bananas. Then it is time for gift giving. They are called up by family and we hand them bags with 6 or 7 items. Tooth brushes and paste, combs, small toys, stuffed animals, frisbees.

People from the surrounding villages are coming also. We have no gifts for them. Things start to get ugly. The army is there. They also carry guns. I walked out of the community center as the crowd started closing in.

I was more interested in the people who were not being helped. They were circling around wanting to touch and talk to a yellow shirt(that's us we always wear our help sri when we go out). I held a baby then I was reminded they wear no diapers. Boys and girls approached me, "nama?"they say, Sue i say and they giggle. A young man was touching me a little too much and I quickly walked away. There were many faces and names, I remember not even one name.

We walked down recently named minnesota street, very narrow dirt path, cement block homes closely lined the streets. the block was being made for the homes right there in someone's house.

I didn't enjoy the gift giving time, what we gave them wasn't enough to make a difference and so many were left out. I think we could have used the gifts as rewards for work done.

It was dark when we headed back. You couldn't see out of the darkened window, the traffic was atrocious, it took 3+ hours to get back to the farm. The bus driver got a ticket for weaving in and out of traffic.

Just as we finally approached the farm we went in the ditch, fortunately he backed the bus up and drove right out. It was late, I decided to skip dinner and just have some apricots and nuts that I had brought with me from home.