Orientation

Feeling out of place. 

Sunday was orientation. We had to be up, dressed and had breakfast by 9am for it to start. 

Breakfast is toast and fried egg with plates of fresh pineapple. Plain and tasty. 

All 20 newbies sat on the sofas for 9am and we then had a 2 hour meeting going through rules of the house, information about the local area and then information on each different project. It was long and hot, and during the bit about the medical project I drifted off to sleep. 

I felt like I was on a school trip. The curlew is 10.30pm everyday and if you go over this you get sent home! There is no alcohol allowed in the house and you cannot come back drunk. At weekends if you want to go drinking you have to find alternative accommodation! It’s very different to the 3 weeks I have just spent in Goa! Feeling very controlled and restricted even though I’m a full grown adult. 

We then played a game where we were split into 2 teams and a person on each team had a sugar kiss in their mouth and had to read out different Sri Lankan related items or  phrases. We didn’t win. 

After lunch, we got into mini buses and travelled to Galagoda Shailatharama Viharaya, a Buddhist temple. 

We had to climb 280 steps and by the time we got to the top we were hot and sweaty!

Shoes off, we were greeted by a monk in his orange robes. We sat on the rocks under a tree and he told us about the 5 rules that they live by – no killing, stealing, sex, drinking or lying.

He told us about the first Buddha and how he was a prince. 

He was a very cute monk, very smiley and he had picked up the habit of saying ‘you know’ between sentences. 

We then explored the temple. Outside there was the sacred tree surrounded by little meditating Buddha statues. 

There was a golden Buddha in the middle of a pond which had fish in it. 

Inside the temple, there was lots of art work on the walls and figurines of different buddhas.

This temple has the longest reclining Buddha in Asia. It is 800 years old. 

After the temple, we got back into the buses and went to a moonstone mine. Blue moonstone is exclusively found in this one area in the world. 

We were shown round the mine, with the mine site being like a well going deep into the ground. 

They then showed us where the stones were washed, cut, polished and then made into jewellery. 

At the end we had a chance to go into the shop and we pretty much all bought something. I got a pair of blue moonstone stud earrings as something to remember Sri Lanka. 

We then stopped at the ATM so we could all get money. Like india, it is a closed currency so we couldn’t get it in advance. 

Now that we had money we went to the supermarket to get some treats. I got a bottle of coke, some shortcake biscuits and some bourbon biscuits.

Back at the house, it was slightly more empty today as a few old volunteers had left overnight. 

We got a seat on the sofa and chilled watched Magic Mike XXL and eating biscuits. 

It felt late, but it was actually only 9pm so we started a game of Cards against Hummanity. We played for hours, starting as individuals and then when more people joined we went into pairs and then as people left to have showers and bed we went back to individuals again. 

It was a good way to connect with people, laughing at the rude and funny answers. I won quite a few and Becky who has been here a few weeks and is very funny said it’s always the quiet and innocent ones that are good at this game. It made me laugh, it just shows how un-Sazzle I am as I wouldn’t say I’m innocent at all. 

I headed to bed at 11pm, excited to meet the elephant tomorrow! We have to be ready to leave at 8.15am so no lie ins on elephant days. 

I’ve decided to just focus on good things when texting friends. Maybe if I only say happy things it will make me happier?

I will still be putting how I feel in writing on here, I want this to be an honest account of my adventure and how I am getting on each day. I also find that writing it down helps, makes it clearer in my head and stops me bottling it all up. 

I hope one day soon I will only be writing happy thoughts and that I will be a happy Sazzle. 

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