Weekends are pretty good for me. I get to sleep in, stare at the ocean, work on my various projects, and not think too hard about Sinhala Sign Language. I was planning on finding a photo shop in town and print out photos to give to the kids, but I was told the stores were probably closed today.
Today is Deepavali (a.k.a. Diwali), the Hindu festival of lights and probably a big deal up in the Hindu Tamil-dominated North, but here in the South, it’s likely just an excuse to take a day off. In addition, this Tuesday is the end of Ramadan, so that’s another holiday (although I’m not sure if it’s a public holiday). Holidays abound, so I stayed in today, although I’m going to the school tomorrow with a couple DVDs for the kids to watch (and for me to interpret).
Anyway! I’m happy to finally provide you with some visual goodness. At the same time, I will also attempt to impress you with my spelling prowess. After all, the Rohana student body contains some very formidable Sinhalese names, and these days, it seems like all I do is spell, spell, and spell.
It’s International Children’s Day, and the girls are all lined up, single file, for the walk up the road. They’re doing a great job of it because I told them that the boys were lining up better than the girls were (they weren’t, but see, they got motivated!). I think it’s interesting to note that in Sri Lanka, the girls learn how to tie their ties way before the boys do.
This is my Grade 8 class. They’re taking a test on English numbers from zero to twenty. From left to right: Shirantha, Prasanna, Pasad, Udaya, Shan Ahmed, and Priyankara. They did pretty well except for Udaya and Pasad, who totally bombed because they missed most of the lessons.
For International Teacher’s Day, the children beautifully decorated the multipurpose room, created badges for all the teachers (I got one, and I will treasure it forever), and performed a few dances and original skits. The girls here are concluding the pageantry with the singing and signing of Sri Lanka’s national anthem.
This is Ruwan in 7B. The first two weeks, I put him and Milan through punishing A-B-C drills, and it paid off handsomely because I can now teach them words. Unfortunately, Milan’s been sick all week, so it’s been just Ruwan and me. He’s learning the names of six sports (he said he wanted to learn sports first). He can also understand, “I like _____,” and “I don’t like ____.” In case you’re wondering, it’s cricket and golf, respectively. His handwriting is atrocious, so immediately after I took this photo, I made him copy my handwriting letter by letter on the blackboard. After he saw his rewritten words, he beamed as if he’d created a Michaelangelo.
We have a little playground in front of the main academic building, so the boys and I were just fooling around on the sort-of-merry-go-round-thingy. They just rock!
Back on International Children’s Day, the girls haven’t lined up yet and are just wandering around. From left to right, it’s I-don’t-know, Janibha, and Shoshini. Shoshini (6A) is quite a piece of work. She loves nothing more than to recite the spelling of fruits (my lesson for the last two weeks), and every time she does it, she stands up, turns slightly to the side, and delivers a masterful, self-confident spelling performance. Her father owns Camp Coconut in Kamburugamuwa, and the kids go there every once in a while to go absolutely wild.
This is one of my favorite pictures ever. After final bell one day, we just sat down in one of the classrooms and chatted for several minutes; a couple of them weren’t ready to go home yet. I’ll never forget what they asked me: “Do you know what S-E-X is?” Then they all started howling and hooting when I said yes. In back from left to right: Priyankara, Rajitha, and in front: Lakmal, Pasad, and Shan Ahmed.
I have actually taken more than 700 photographs since departing Los Angeles one month ago, plus taken a lot of movies. I am also trying to get every single student’s sign name on camera so I can make a really fun DVD by December when the Grade 11 students take their O/L’s and (sob!) graduate.