20 Rotaractors of the Rotaract Club of New Asia College, Hong Kong of District 3450 visited Sri Lanka on 28/12/2018 in completion of a series of projects covering all four main avenues organized by the Rotaract Club of SLIIT aiming to exchange the different cultures, traditions, to serve the local community and to promote international understanding. The participants of both the clubs joined hands together in completion of these set of projects from 28/12/2018 to 04/01/2019 and was able to build lifelong friendships and gain new experiences while developing themselves. From the airport pick up till the departure, the Rotaract Club of SLLIT had arranged a wide variety of and projects.
Day 01 started off by having breakfast and the first task of the day was to buy the essentials. Afterwards, everyone went to Arcade to spend the rest of the evening where we had a ‘’Get to know’’ session to know each other better. The session started off with introducing each other and then moved into fun games. Everyone got to know each other well and surprisingly the fun facts too. At night we had organized a cultural show to enlighten everyone on the aspects of a traditional Sri Lankan culture. The program was showcased mainly in the form of a live drama acted out by Rotaractors.
For day 02, the Rotaract Club of SLIIT organized a scavenger hunt to explore the Colombo city, solve riddles and complete varied mysterious challenges. The whole program was indeed a mystery for both SLIIT and NA Rotaractors except for those who were in the organizing committee. The program started at the Race Course at 9.00 a.m. and went on till the evening. After the conclusion of games, everyone walked along the streets to see Christmas decorations and was able to witness the nightlife in Colombo.
The day 03 started off with a visit to the National Museum to dig into the Sri Lankan history. After the journey back to past, the Rotaractors went to ‘’Raja Bojun’’ where they got the opportunity to taste Sri Lankan food with choices more than hundreds of dishes. The ambiance also gave a Sri Lankan village vibe with a tropical touch by the large elephant statue and with antique ornaments. Afterwards we visited the Gangaramaya Temple and more things were learnt about the Sri Lankan history, culture and beliefs. A personal grooming session was conducted at the Embazzy from 8.00 p.m. onwards which helped the Rotaractors in maintaining a positive self-image and to refine their personalities. Afterwards everyone got together and played Truth or Dare which brought out everyone’s inner beasts and secrets. This session was full of laughter and giggles and went on till 11.30 p.m.
Afterwards, everyone gathered to the beach near The Station to celebrate the New Year dawn. The Rotaractors of the New Asia College had an amazing experience at the New Year celebrations playing with fireworks. At the new year dawn, the ‘whole sky was full of fireworks and it was indeed a magical scenery. Also, the sky lanterns were floated making new year wishes. Playing with fireworks was a once in a lifetime experience for the NA Rotaractors as their government has banned those and thus they were very grateful for providing them the opportunity to have that wonderful experience.
The next day morning session was a visit to the National Zoological garden, Dehiwala. The Rotaractors were able to see a remarkable collection of exotic and indigenous fauna. And of course, most of them were able to find their twin relatives. Afterwards we left to Avissawella to have a sneak peek out of Colombo. The destination was Dambora Ella-Ihala Bope.
The activities of day 05 were started off a bit early in the morning for the upcountry visit. The first destination was the Pinnawala elephant orphanage. The Rotaractors were able to see a number of elephants and got to know basically everything about elephants. After seeing the elephants getting fed, we went to see the elephants bathing. The next stop was a tea estate on the way to Ramboda falls, where everyone got a chance to taste a Lankan cup of tea. They were also able to see the tea plantations which generate one of the largest incomes of Sri Lanka. The last stop for the day was Ramboda falls, Nuwara Eliya. The Rotaractors climbed up the mountain to get to the top of the waterfall and didn’t forget to take pictures of that amazing scenery. With the help of the villagers, 20 trees were planted beside the route.
With hands full of gifts and essential items, the Rotaractors visited the elder’s home on day 06; maintained by All Ceylon women’s Buddhist Congress, Colombo 7; along with heaps of love and affection. The matron in charge warmly welcomed us all and introduced us to the beautiful elderly-mothers. The elderly mothers received us with loads of hugs and kisses with happy tears in their eyes. Some of them could speak English. They were very talkative and told us about their life stories and that they are delighted to have us here. Everyone sat together holding hands in a circle and started singing songs while playing the guitar. Seeing the elderly mothers reminded the passed parents, grandparents and each moment was very sensitive for all of us. Sadly, due to time constraints we had to leave them even though none of us wanted to. After making us promised to visit them back soon to spend the entire day with them, they allowed us to leave. This visit was the most heart touching project of the Taffeta Path for all the Rotaractors.
After having a quick snack for lunch, everyone rushed into the children’s home, Moravinna Balika Child Development and Probation Center. The main objective of this session was to teach basics of English and vocabulary for the kids there. After a small introductory session, the 22 kids were divided into 3 groups based on their ages and the sessions were done separately.
The first official joint meeting of the Rotaract Clubs of SLIIT and NA in Sri Lanka was held at at Navro Beach resort, Panadura with the presence of the Guide Club director of RAC SLIIT Rtr. Nipun Sachinthana. A briefing was done about the Rotaract District 3220 by him. Afterwards, both the clubs presented the projects they have done so far and their future plans. Rotaractors of NA were amazed by seeing the innovative project ideas we had, and the number of projects done and congratulated with a loud round of applause. Moreover, the clubs discussed about each other’s differences, strength and weaknesses and agreed upon having a long-lasting relationship which will benefit both the clubs and the society. The joint meeting ended in style with a fun game “kissing the bunny” and what happened in their will remain a secret within both the clubs.
In the next day morning we went to Pettah to witness the street shopping experience. After a walk around Pettah streets the Rotaractors visited the Red mosque which they found very attractive. After having lunch, everyone gathered to SLIIT Metro campus.
Another joint meeting was conducted with the presence of the Guide Club director Rtr. Nipun Sachinthana. As agreed in the previous meeting, the Twin Club Agreement between Rotaract Club of SLIIT (District 3220) and Rotaract Club of New Asia College (District 3450) was signed by the vice president of RAC SLIIT Rtr. Duleesha Waidyarathne and the president of RAC NA Rtr. Ivan Wu; proclaiming the bond between the two clubs official. Little did we know, it was the last couple of hours before they leave. The one week has passed without even knowing it and it was the time to say good bye for each other. The closing ceremony began, and NA Rotaractors talked about their experience at Taffeta Path and expressed their immense gratitude for accompanying through the 7-day service trip and for organizing everything. After the experience share, certificates and souvenirs were presented for the Rotaractors of RAC NA for their immense service rendered for the country. And a token of appreciation was given for RAC SLIIT for organizing the project.
Afterwards a video was shown which included all the wonderful and funny memories of the past week and at the end of the video there were tears in everyone’s eyes knowing that they have to say goodbye soon. It was harder than we thought because even if they stayed for one week, we all were so close and have become one family. The sad faces were cheered up by having some jive sessions and the Taffeta path was thus concluded.
Rtr. Duleesha Waidyarathne