Tuesday, February 26, 2008

While traveling to program areas in Kudawella, we saw a group of people gathered around a tree staring down at the ground. Anne quickly spotted the snake they were all watching and asked to stop the car. This was not just any snake, it was a 12-foot python! Obviously, it had recently dined as there were bulges throughout its long, thick body. It had been caught across the road – and tied with a blue rope to a tree. Men, women and school children alike gathered around to see it.

In the afternoon, we attended an English course. With the longtime Britsh presence in Sri Lanka, English emerged as one of the official languages. Although it is widely spoken in the country still today, it is no longer an official language -- Sinhalese and Tamil are now the country’s languages. Many billboards and signs throughout the country display all three languages.

The girls in this course are no longer in regular school, but wanted to learn English in order to find jobs. They said they believed it was an international language which they needed in their lives. The class is predominantly girls, ranging in age from 16 to 25. A group of girls gathered around Anne (pictured to the left) to practice their English skills. She engaged them in easy questions.

One by one, she asked their names and other simple questions. What was their age? Favorite color? Did they have siblings? They answered, sometimes quickly, often requiring a bit of thought first as the class began just six weeks ago. Purnika likes rap music. Ayesha likes to read the newspaper, particularly stories about her homeland.

They also wanted to know Anne's favorite color (green); if she liked this country (love it); favorite food (shrimp); and what she thought about the country (it is so hot, but beautiful).

The girls wanted to know if Charles Davy, CCF’s Asia Regional Vice President could sing. He claimed he was told not to sing, but asked if they could. They eagerly agreed to this and then sang, “My Heart will Go On,” the Celine Dion song from the movie “Titanic.” I couldn’t help but wonder why they chose that song to sing. But they delivered it well. Thankfully, they didn’t ask us to return the favor and sing to them!

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