On April 10th, 2019 Jennifer and Crystal set out for a service trip to Sri Lanka with Developing World Connections to help volunteer abroad as well as celebrate and recognize 15 years of business success and working together. Jen; having been on a number of DWC trips in the past met up to partner with local Kamloops DWC President Joshua Molsberry and Financial Planner of Corrigan Financial Group Inc. Jonathan Corrigan (Fresh Inc. clients) the group got organized for a 10 day round the world trip.
Jen, Crystal, Joshua and Jon spend the layover in London visiting the sites of Paddington, eating fish and chips and having a couple of pints before the flight to Columbo, Sri Lanka.
While Josh was busy in meetings, the amazing and knowledgeable guide and driver Deepal took the group to visit the sites. Jon, Jen and Crystal hiked over 2,500 steps to get to the top of Sigiriya Rock and the Dambulla Cave Temple in one day. The heat alone was enough to make you sweat but add on the steps for an amazing healthy glow!
The group then met up again with Joshua in Kandy. They spent their time visiting the city, being captivated by the jungle sounds and fighting off the monkeys at the hotel. Crystal and Jen were petrified, but Jon stood his ground fighting them off when they tried to steal his precious cheese puffs.
Jet Lag aside, Monday morning everyone was up at the crack of dawn for breakfast and a briefing. The group would spend the next week working alongside Trip Canada and the hard-working Sri Lankan people to help with 3 different worksites already underway.
The group helped out building a new home for a special boy named Adeesha and his family. Adeesha is twelve years old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy. He has spent his entire life living in a two-room mud hut with his 8-year-old sister Deuni and their parents. To earn a living for the family his father, Lalith, spends most of his time driving in Colombo. Through the generosity of a neighbour, land was donated and in January they hired workers to start the construction of a new home for Adeesha and his family. It is a peaceful, beautiful, rural setting with many trees and two other homes on the plot of land. The group was truly humbled to be so welcomed by this family, the neighbours and the men who have worked so hard to start building the new home.
The group was assigned to an orphanage started by a Canadian monk shortly after the 2004 tsunami, Canadapura is a safe harbour for 25 children and this is the fourth year that DWC/TRIP volunteers have supported the ongoing work at this remarkable place set comfortably in the countryside outside Tangalle.
The team’s goal for the trip was to complete two more rooms on the second floor of the new building. This entails sifting sand to make mortar for the parging of walls (more mud!) and the construction of a brick wall to divide the space in two, as well as the concrete floor to underpin it all. At every site there were hired labourers and masons to teach us all new skills and make sure the work gets
Upon arrival, four-year-old Thenuli greeted the group with a wave and a beautiful smile. She currently lives in a tiny mud house; the groups jobs were to help local workers construct a new, larger brick home for Thenuli and her parents to live in. Thenuli’s father, Jeevana, suffered brain damage after a motorcycle accident. He was a lovely man and did his very best to support the family working as a “short-eats” cook whenever he is able. The foundation of the home was already done.
After meeting the local work crew, the group rolled up their sleeves and dug in to various jobs assigned by our indomitable leaders. Everyone had the opportunity to sift sand, mix concrete, move bricks, dig a walkway and assist the masons in building walls. The Sri Lankan workers were very patient and willing to show the group the ropes. It was amazing how easily they all understood each other, despite the language differences. It is however unclear whether their constant smiles were motivated by enjoyment or amusement at the groups skill levels!
After hard work, the group lounged at the pool, visited the local beach, had dinner with the Trip Canada Team and also visited an old friend and Kamloops Rotarian Ralene at her beautiful home in Sri Lanka alongside the lovely friend Anil who brought the group some local Arrack to bring home. (fermented Coconut drink, very tasty).
Jen and Crystal had an amazing time volunteering abroad and they would like to thank their clients and colleagues for the support while we were away. The Fresh Inc. team was amazing at taking care of everything while Jen and Crystal were away. So grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity!
If you or your company are interested in volunteering abroad or supporting a great organization click here for more information
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