Our Young Deaffest Ambassador Alex Nowak tells us about his first week in Sri Lanka!
“Upon arrival at the airport, I met my deaf friend Kasun after a year away and straight away was picking up the Sri Lankan Sign Language very quickly. We bussed straight to Matara city – the humidity, people asking me “if I have a wife?” and chaotic bus journeys with loud music – it felt like I hadn’t been away at all.
I’m staying a Kasun’s house in Dondra, a few miles east of Matara city. There’s a lighthouse in Dondra – it’s a famous landmark as it marks the southern most point of Sri Lanka. It’s said to be the highest lighthouse in Asia. Nearby is a lovely sandy beach which is lovely for evening relaxation.
On Monday I visited Rohana Specialist School again (I taught at this school last year) and it was lovely to see all the students and staff again after so long. I had a meeting with the principal, Mr Abeygunawardana, to discuss when and what I’d be teaching at the school. I’m starting in a few days time.
After the arrangements with the principal, I headed to a music festival — not the British kind at all. Just a simple one with the main singer being a blind lady, a group of drummers and a boy dressed as a lady flaunting about on the stage.
On Wednesday, the sponsors of Sumaga Ruhunu Circle of the Deaf (Marks and Spencer being the main sponsor) came to visit the organization and see how things are developing and discuss future arrangements. My friend, Kasun, is the president of the organization. The firm provides support to deaf people in the southern province of Sri Lanka. Collecting hearing aids to give to deaf Sri Lankan’s who are in need of them is one of the projects I’m supporting Kasun with through the organization.
I headed up the coast to Dikwella on Saturday and had a huge catch up with my deaf friend, Nsusanha, who works as a lifeguard at the Dikwella Resort and Spa Hotel — stay here if you ever go to Sri Lanka.
So, after 7 days in Sri Lanka, and not forgetting the following: seeing a dead snake, getting cramped on the buses, sitting on the toilet and seeing a huge cockroache and a hairy spider creeping towards me… It’s all good!”