Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Sri Lanka circuit (the morning of Day 6) - on the way to Nuwara Eliya - The 10th of December 2011

As we drove towards Nuwara Eliya hills, known as the garden  city of Asia we crossed a few valleys, with waterfalls and streams where people could be seen bathing.

We then stopped at the Ramboda falls for lunch just before heading to one of the best known tea plantations in the area.

It is said that prior to the huge tea plantation areas in the Nuwara Eliya, there were coffee plantations, whose workers were Tamil Nadu emmigrants, though according to a legend it is still "believed" that one day in order to stay awake to meditate, Buddha tore out his eyelashes, which in falling miraculously  caused the birth from the soil of two luxuriant tea plants.

Realistically though, the tea plant is today the first item in the Sri Lankan economy ...

Presents for the children of Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde

Presents for the children of Calheta keep on "pouring in", so as to be handed to them in the forthcoming trip to the village. Among those are birthday presents and artistic material for them to do things throughout the year under some sort of  "guidance", once they take great pleasure in doing them.

Joceline's presents (left) and Edeson's birthday presents (right) sent by Marie Hélène and Mia respectively.

Books and letters for Artemisa, Daniela and Maria de Jesus (left) sent by Cristina Marques, Lourdes Baptista and Maria Felicidade respectively. Some "spare"gifts for children who may not be given presents (right).

Some paper dolls to distribute to the younger girls

Artistic material for the girls

There is still a week and hal left but I hope to have everything organized in time for the three "godmothers" to be able to pack whatever may be necessary before the 9th of February.

The decision not to be a postcrosser any longer ...

I have taken the decision of not being a postcrosser any longer (after two years) based on the fact that many of my cards don't reach their destination and I am thoroughly convinced that it is not a postal service problem but rather something to do with the postcrossers I have sent those cards to, namely based on the premise that these people don't even acknowledge the messages I send them suggesting the sending out of a second card.

I may have been less "lucky", though I must confess I have also made a few friends through postcrossing, whom I intend to keep and cherish. I leave "postcrossing" with full consciousness of having always followed the "rules" and given my best to make people happy with the cards I have sent (at least those who have registered them), as in accordance with their "requests" and preferences.

As soon as the latest cards I have sent reach (or don't reach their destination) I'll say "goodbye" to postcrossing, wishing postcrossers and "postcrossing" all the best .

I have downloaded the latest "missing" cards (sent to Belarus, Russia, Belgium, The Netherlands, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Finland) in order to have them publish in this article, so that they may be seen, once they have unfortunately not made it to the official postcrossing wall. 








P.S. Since this article was published three of the cards have finally been registered (PT-219603; PT-215994 and PT-213353)

Monday, 30 January 2012

The children of Calheta de São Miguel (still) ...

I had recently sent some envelopes with a birthday card and a pair of earrings each for the girls whose birthdays would be in January, as well as some letters from the "godmothers" who had reached me late and thus had not been included in the envelope sent to them.

Sibylle who has just sent me their photos handed them those as they were cleaning the field and I believe their expressions say it all.

I was also told they all (with one exception) chose to take the envelopes and open them in private.

Daniela (left) and Lavinia (right)

Carla (left) and Katiza (right)


Juliza (left) and Nolita (right) holding the letters sent to them by Isabel Mègre and Filipa respectively.


Artemisa (left) hoding a little gift sent to her by the daughter of her "godmother" who bought it with her own money and Maria de Jesus hoding a book sent to her by her former "godparent" and a letter sent to her by a former student of mine (Nuno Miguel) she has been penfriends with.

They do not know yet that three "godmothers" will be travelling there soon and will be carrying a lot of little "surprises" for them all.

I must confess I wonder what their reactions are going to be like ..., though I am happy enough with the fact that they all know somebody cares about them ... and that's what really matters.

The Sri Lanka circuit (The morning of Day 6) - The train trip from Kandy to Nawaplapitiya - The 10th of December 2011

We boarded a local train at Kandy train station, to soon find out it would be like "travelling back in time" judging from the notice boards, though the train itself didn't look much different from the one I take to my native town in Portugal, at least from the outside.

Once we "settled down" in the carriage we hoped the two hour trip would not have us go to its "toilet", because there wasn't but a hole in the tiny compartment from which we could see the rail tracks underneath.

The idea behind this train trip was to allow us to have a different perspective from the one we have had so far, as we have been crossing the country by bus. After the first stop a few Sinhalese youngsters  joined us and started singing local songs, which was quite interesting.

Then it was our turn to talk to a local family, who sat next to us, whose children learned English at school, making the dialogues easier, though the father spoke good English himself. When they left a little farther at Gampola  I wasconvinced that guides are true in saying that Sinhalese are naturally kind and welcoming.

As the train stopped at Ulapane I caught the attention of some children (presumably of Hindu origin due to the outfits), who approached as I waved with some doll decorated pencils (I always carry with me to hand out to children wherever we stop) and it turned out the oldest boy to whom I gave a differently shaped pencil also wanted a doll decorated one, though I unfortunately had none left.

What a difference a few little things can make in the life of children ... and how happy I was to have them smiling back at me ... even their mother waving back as the train started to pull out of the train station  (a rather composed gesture).

We got off at Nawaplapitiya station to get on the bus again ... on the way up the hills towards Nuwara Eliya.


As far as landscape is concerned it was a rather uninteresting trip, as the train crossed various villages, all similar to one another, but in terms of having been able to directly contact the population it was really worth it ...