Alex gets in touch with us to update what has been happening recently!
“Many deaf people come to the Sumaga Ruhunu Circle of the Deaf asking for employment. Deaf organization lecturer, Upul Nishantha, trains the workers how to use the sewing machines. After they are fully qualified, they are then placed in factories across the island where they can have a full time job.
The venue has been confirmed for the deaf film festival. It`s going to be at the Hemalie Hotel in Matara town on Sunday 25th May. The event is now officially called `Matara Deaf Film and Arts Festival`. It`s really exciting to plan, what I hope will be a successful event.
On Friday, I got the highway bus to Colombo. New highways are being built on the island all the time. Forests, agriculture and peoples home are being demolished to make way for the infrastructure to be built – sad however the only way for urbanisation.
On Saturday, I met my English friend Jenny in the city of Colombo. After a huge catch up, we couldn`t resist a visit to McDonalds! The following day I explored the city, taking in the sights of the colourful Pettah, high rise buildings in the Fort, viewed the Docks from the Grand Oriental Hotel bar and walked down the bustling but slightly dilapidated Galle Face Green. If you are a tea lover, do try out tLongue On Chatham Street By Dilmah in the Fort. The chef, Claude Nelson, also serves up some delicious dishes.
The 7th week started with an early morning splash in the hotel pool before meeting Kasun in Colombo. We visited the Siemens hearing aid office in Nugegoda and after a long discussion, the company agreed to let all the donated hearing aids have the programming be done for free and the next 8 deaf children can have the moulds fitted for free. After this, families will have to pay approximately £5. We visited Rajitha and Chan for a lovely meal in the evening. The following day, me and Kasun visited the head offices of Litro Gas and Marks & Spencers to discuss funding for the Sumaga Ruhunu Circle of the Deaf organization and its programmes – some very good news was received.
Thursday, I bussed to the town of Kataragama in South-East Sri Lanka to meet some friends of Upul. Buses in Sri Lanka are helplessly overcrowded. Unless you are a Sri Lankan resident or you love people`s sweat in your face and the feel of a stampede, I highly recommend getting an A\C bus, bike or Tuk Tuk (Sri Lankan taxi) instead. Kataragama is a sacred place on the island for Hindus – it is said that their leader, Lord Buddha meditated here on his third visit to Sri Lanka. Chandima and Sinhaarach, friends of Upul, showed me around the beautiful, tree filled town. We visited the main temple, where the aroma of scented sticks, fruit and gunpowder (from the fireworks) filled the atmosphere.
Back in Matara, the first of the deaf children were finally fitted with the donated hearing aids. It was a treat to see the youngest one hear for the first time, emotional too. More hearing aids are desperately needed however, as there are over 800 deaf individuals waiting for this opportunity to hear the world. If you or your friends have any unwanted or old hearing aids at home, please donate them to the in deaf community Sri Lanka by putting them in the bucket provided at Deaffest Film Festival between 16-18th May 2014.”