St. Anthony’s Boys Home


After landing into Colombo, Sri Lanka, we were picked up by the driver from the St. Anthony’s Boys Home.  An immediate 2.5 hour drive to a small village called Hiwadiwela left us tired and hungry.  Side note: the roads in Sri Lanka are not like the roads in America.  The drivers skillfully avoid tut-tuts, cows and many pedestrians.  I felt as though I was in a Small India.

Once we got to the Orphanage, we were greeted by Ramesh, the Property Manager.  AKA the Chuck Norris of Sri Lanka.  The guy is super nice and is quite possibly the most resourceful person I have ever met.   He took us down for lunch.  All food is made by the local, poor Sri Lankan women using utensils that look to be dated from the early 1900s.  It is also quite possibly the most tasty food I have had during the course of our travels so far.

After settling into our room, we explored the area.  The building (or dormitory) is an airy, sunny space with a roof over the rooms while the common courtyard area is un-shielded.   It’s nestled within tropical plants and cocunut & pineapple trees.  You can often see rays of sunlight reflect through the plants and into our home.  It is quite beautiful.

The best part was, of course, meeting the orphans.  There are 21 of them and they are the cutest, most lovable kids ever.  Each one was thrilled to meet us and immediately asked if we could play games with them.  Part of which entailed me participating in a game of cricket.

Our main responsibility was to teach the kids English.  Some of them were really eager to learn while others shyed away from the opportunity to practice English with us.

Now, your fast facts for the past 9 days include:

  • I taught English for a full week and enjoyed every minute of it.   However, I realiye that teachers desevere a massive kudos for all the work they do.  It is not an easy job.
  • I accidentally went to town with a really tasty dish.  Later, I was told it was fish.  I am a vegetarian that does not eat seafood. Sigh.
  • Electricity goes on/off as it pleases.  I realized we don’t really need as much electricity as we use.
  • Another realization: America and Australia tend to be incredibly wasteful countries (duh) but seeing firsthand what Sri Lankans can do with sparse resources puts things into even more perspective.
  • A loving child can make the worst of problems seem insignificant.
  • I got to participating in making string hoppers and cocunut chutney using an old world kitchen.  Pictures to come.
  • Everyone there thought I was 22 and was shocked when I told them I was 33.
  • The biggest problem we encountered on the trip was that the cows went missing!!
  • There was only 1 true orphan.  The other orphans actually had 1 or 2 parents but they are alcoholics, gamblers or have to work overseas to earn a living for their family.
  • One orphan ran away during our stay there.

I am so incredibly happy that Martin and I got this experience.  We feel really blessed and fortunate that we come from happy, loving families and have a roof over our head.  This has been a very humbling experience so far…and now we have moved onto Kandy.

Kandy is in the middle of Sri Lanka and we took a 3 hour train to get there.  The train looked as if was ancient but the train ride was magical.  We spent all of yesterday at the Sacred Tooth Relic temple, where Buddha’s tooth is supposedly stored. It was phenomenal.

Today, we venture over to Adams Peak which is south.  We will be doing a 2 AM hike up a very steep summit to see the footstep of either Adam, Buddha or Shiva.  Each religion claims that the footstep belongs to their diety.  Apparently, the sunset at the top of the freezing cliff is insane.  Can’t wait!

I apologize for all typos, gramatically incorrect sentences and ramblings.  I write these blogs in under 30 minutes so often they don’t make sense to others but they make sense in my head!

Until the next post……RALI signing out.



2 responses »

  1. Awesome stuff Miss Nirali shahhhhh! Sounds amazing. Sri Lanka is a place I have wanted to visit for a few tears now, but there has just been unrest there every time I considered going. Much better now apparently. A girlfriend (who has a Sri Lankan father) and I wanted to go to Kandy, for the Kandi Peri Hera (apologies for incorrect spelling), the festival of light. Apparently spectacular. What was Kandy like in your opinion. Keep up the good work….not sure I could teach english, when I’m not the most correct english speaking person. Ha!
    Sounds like you are having the time of your life, live it up.
    Big hugs. Lisa xx

    P.S. You do look 22, you lucky girl. 🙂

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