|Elizabeth Moir Student Volunteer Build|
It was indeed a day of firsts. After a long spell of un-characteristic heavy rains in the city of Colombo, the sun came out and shone as brightly as ever, lifting the spirits of many who had been suffering because of the floods caused by the rains. It was also the first time students from Elizabeth Moir Senior School were teaming up with Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, and volunteering at a build. The 11th of December was a good day all around.
The morning started off early, with 20 students and a teacher from Form 5 of Elizabeth Moir School arriving at the build site in Lunawa, Moratuwa, just about 30 minutes away from the main city. The task ahead of them was new and a bit daunting as this was the first time any of these students had volunteered in any manner to build a house. There were two houses opposite each other on which the work had to be completed and the students took up the challenge of completing the flooring in both by lunch time. With most of the neighbors watching in interest, the students lined up at the building site, eager to begin. After a traditional Sri Lankan welcome, a brief introduction to the home owners, safety rules to follow, and the work for the day explained to them, the students and teacher broke up into two teams, and got down to what needed to be done, immediately.
Work began with the help of some people from the neighboring houses and the home owners as well. While some students helped carry the stones and sand to a central mixing point, the other students helped in the mixing of concrete. Once that was done, the students began transporting the concrete to the rooms which needed the flooring done. The students worked together with great energy, encouraging those who got tired, exchanging places so that one person did not have to do the same thing continuously, and making sure everyone was in good spirits. After a short break for tea and kiribath, the students got back to work in order to ensure the work for the day was completed. And by lunch time, they had managed to complete the flooring in the rooms that they had been allocated in both houses.
At the end of half a day’s work under the blazing sun, the result was two homes with sturdy floors of concrete instead of sand. But there was also the outcome of two families with a better place to call home, 20 students and a teacher knowing they had made an actual difference in the lives of families who had been strangers to them thus far, and a community which saw before its eyes that there were people out there willing to lend them a hand in making their lives better.
Family Profiles of the families helped that day:
Ø Family 01 - Mr. K. Rukmal Chaminda Rodrigo (38 Years old), married to Sandarekha Damayanthi (30 years old). Ruwani Sakila (Daughter, 11 years old) studying at Princess of Wales College, Moratuwa. Mr. Rukmal is a disabled Army Soldier, a Land Mine victim during the Mavil Aru Battle, which took place in the Trincomalee District.
Ø Family 02 - Mrs Shalika Nidarshanie Fernando (25 Years old), married to Mr. Manjula Udaya, a carpenter. They have two children, Sashini Madushani (7 years old and a student of Grade 2 in Rawathawatte Methodist School, Moratuwa) and Senuri Ahinsa (5 Years old, attending Pre school at the Lunawa.Temple)