Four Rotaractors of the Rotaract Club of SRM Kattankulathur of RID 3232, visited Sri Lanka on the 10th of January 2020, in completion of series of projects covering four main avenues visiting significant places in Sri Lanka organized by the Rotaract Club of SLIIT with the objective creating trails or creating pathways eliminating barriers, in the aspect of culture, geography, and ethnicity, with building communities, to elaborate more on the international understanding complied with the aim of exchange of different, vibrant, rich cultures among each other clubs. The progression of the participation of both clubs were during the course of 10 days starting from 10/01/2020 to 19/01/2020, while building life – long friendships, commitment for the societies, collecting experiences and memories and having fun. The Rotaract Club of SLLIT had arranged a widespread type of and projects and made sure everything was done effortlessly rendering to the plan.
First day started after warmly welcoming the delegates arriving early 10th morning and driving to Wilpattu National Park. On the way they engaged in an introductory “Get – to – Know” session with a small ice breaking game. Each delegate was delighted to see the warm, welcoming nature of our fellow Rotaractors on our way. when we arrived at Wilpattu everyone was getting ready to experience the wildlife of Sri Lanka and as it was the morning we were able to witness elephants, wild boar and one delegated swore she saw a cheetah but unfortunately we got to know it was a branch moving because of the wind. Later we arrived at a private lodging house at Puttalam for resting after taking millions of pictures and spending some quality times with each other.
Day two started early with everyone packing up and leaving to kitulagala for White water rafting which brought excitement among each and every one of us. after arriving at the location, the boats and paddles were given with all the safety protocols by the lifeguards. It was a life changing experience for all of us since it was more of team building activity rather than surviving on our own. It was actually a thrilling but a fun adventure for all.
Third day, after a late lunch with the delegates at Arcade Independence Square, where they were introduced for the Sentier – project committee who are also fellow Rotaractors of SLIIT. We also requested them to be dressed in traditional Indian clothing for the participation of “Rangoli – Light up my world” organized by the Rotaract Club of Centennial United with a humble objective of show casting Autism and other forms of disability are part of the human experience that contributes to human diversity. And we were able to be part of this self -effacing event. We were given a chance to draw Rangoli and the delegates participated in it eagerly. During the program, one of the delegate showed her dancing skills with a surprised dance and the crowd enjoyed it. The day ended with a delightful Indian snack “Poori” prepared at the event.
Day Four was an eventful day for everyone which we were able to go for several beautiful, picturesque places in Nuwereliya and one of those places are called the Upcott Waterfall. After leaving the scenic Kotagala Train Station which is one of the highest train stations located in Sri Lanka. A bit of a tiring hike took us to this beautiful waterfall which was located with rocks and everyone was not afraid to climb it, because of the exposure and the talents fellow Rotaractors of SLIIT has received through “Team Alpha”. we were given an opportunity to bathe in the waterfall which was enjoyed by everyone. After a tiring evening, arriving back to the lodging everyone was given a chance to relax for a while. At the end of the day, all gathered together for an interactive session with a game of “Truth & Dare” which was a challenging but yet a fun event for all of us. The boys were given a chance to dressed up in traditional Indian attire and were told to dance or sing to Hindi songs, while the girls were asked daring questions.
Day Five was also filled with many location visits such as; “Mayfield Estate” , a monastery located in Ambewala which was hidden inside a forest with a calming, soothing area, the delegates were given a chance to learn about the Buddhism ways which was taught by the head monk of the place. Thereafter, we arrived at the “Seetha Amman Kovil” passing infamous “Devon Falls” to experience the religious beliefs of the Hindus which is to believe the site where Sita was held captive by (Vikram) king Ravana, and where she prayed daily for Rama to come and rescue her in the Hindu epic, Ramayana. On the rock face across the stream are circular depressions said to be the footprints of Lord Hanuman. Later, having lunch at Nuwereliya and a walk around the Nuwereliya Park we arrived back to Colombo.
Day six was an eye opening day for the delegates as they were given a chance to experience and participate in one of our signature community project at the Child Development Center in Morawinna for the Thai Pongal session which was part of a community project “Light up their world” organized by the Rotaract Club of SLIIT, the initiative of lighting up their worlds by improving their English Language skills and soft skills. The children welcomed the international delegates warm heartedly with dashing smiles and open arms. After getting to know each other, they joined the children to draw Rangoli at the doorstep of their classes showing off the children’s talent in art. The delegates were humble enough to later on teach the children Indian Dancing techniques to be performed in front of the crowd. After that, the delegates taught the children Hindi with the very basic lessons such as learning how to say, “What’s your name?” and “How are you? At the end, the children showcase the talents of those kids where they all danced and sang songs with joy.
Day seven the delegates were ready to dive into the sweet, chilled waters and bury their feet in the sand at the Southern part of Sri Lanka as we took them to Galle, before stopping at several other locations such as; Tsunami Museum in Peraliya.
Day eight, was filled with lot of activities and sightseeing around Colombo, and pettah was one of the main locations we visited. The delegates were given a chance to test their bargaining power at the Pettah shopkeepers but unfortunately most of the shops were closed due to Friday Jummah Prayers, which led them the chance of seeing the famous red Mosque during these prayers and the crowd which flows into it and they were shell shocked.
Day Nine, the entire day was dedicated for shopping where the delegates were taken to infamous malls situated in Colombo. The shopping spree started at “Majestic City, and after a quick stroll everyone had lunch and decided to visit “Laksala” to purchase Gemstones in order to make jewelry back in India. The delegates were stunned to see the products available in the venue which details about the Sri Lankan culture, history, and people. Therefore, they ended up purchasing more than Gemstones. Afterwards we arrived at “Colombo City Center”, where everyone requested to purchase Bubble tea and shop around. After arriving at Odel and finally at Nolimit we had our dinner at Aluthkade with the delegates learnt to speak in Sinhala while SLIIT Rotaractors learnt how to speak in Hindi.
Unfortunately, every good things came for an end, but the memories and experiences we held on to during these few days were more than we can imagine. After cheering the fellow Rotaractors of SLIIT at RCL and meeting other clubs at the event at the end of the closing ceremony the delegates had to say goodbye with tears in their eyes. Our fellow Rotaractors dropped them at the airport and everyone gifted each other a tight hug to say goodbye. Also, Rotaractors of RAC SLIIT received token of appreciation prepared by the delegates own hands and it was amazing. It was harder than we thought because even if they stayed for few days, we all were so close and have become one family. Every good thing has to come to an end, but this will not. Both the clubs will be working hard towards the betterment of communities while solidification the bond between the clubs. With that thought, everyone dismissed physically and got connected via social media to share their thoughts and hence concluded “Sentier 2020.”
Rtr. Shandala Wasala
Director- International Services 2019/20