On Sunday 20 November, a group of Year 12 students and staff set off on the 2016 Braemar College Sri Lanka Community Adventure.
- Community service project at Monaragala School.
- Canoe on the Habanara Tank tributaries
- Climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya
- Dambulla Cave Temple, the largest painted caves on earth
- Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha in Kandy
- Local cooking demonstration, followed
- by students cooking dinner
- Jeep safari in Udawalawe National Park
- Visiting the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe
- and sponsoring milk powder for the babies
- Cycle through classic Sri Lankan landscapes
- Exploring the Dutch Fortress at Galle
- Climbing Sri Lanka’s sacred Adam’s Peak mountain.
Our community service project will be at the Monaragala School for the Disabled. There are currently 110 disabled students housed here, some who are visually Impaired, others with Speech and hearing disabilities. Our project here will be to join in restoring the classrooms and painting and cleaning one section of the school. We will also join in the lunch making process for all the students.
We hope you enjoy the journey with us.
The group left Melbourne and safely arrived in Columbo. After a well deserved sleep in, they explored some of the local canals.
Emily provided an audio update.
The group continues their journey in Sri Lanka. They have explored temples and heard about the history of this island nation.
The group has now trekked to the top of Adam’s Peak and enjoyed the sunrise. This was a tough climb. A quote from the group was “totally exhausting – amazing views @ 2200m . 8 hours up and back – legs don’t work. I think 5500 steep stairs.”
The group then enjoyed some more train travel and have arrived at the Monaragala School ready for their service work.
We have had some audio updates as well.
The Braemar College group have been meet by the Principal at an assembly. They have planted some dragon fruit trees at the entrance to the school. The banner that they walked through was made by the students and is constructed out of polystyrene and painted. It says “we warmly welcome everybody”. The symbols are of prosperity.
Mattresses delivered, cricket played, the Braemar students and staff are gaining a real understanding of what a difference we can make in these villages.
Tanzia’s audio update gives us some background over the last couple of days.
The work at the Monaragala School continues. The Braemar students contain to paint the buildings to make the school a more attractive place to live and go to school. The younger Sri Lankan students make play things out of the paint lids, creativity at work.
Gemma has provided todays audio update.
Today is the last day for the students working in the Monaragala School. The students have been working hard and we look forward to hearing and seeing what their achievements have been.
An important part of this journey is the personal growth of our Braemar students. It is difficult to tell from images and sound bits the measurable change this experience is having. However if the experiences of the 2014 group are a benchmark and the daily messages from Mr Warner are guide this will be a life changing experience for our Year 12s.
The Braemar group have continued their journey, heading towards Udawalawe National Park. It is an exciting day when you can see elephants. Enjoying a bush camp the students observed the animals roaming freely, as well as at the feeding area.
After enjoying the Udawalawe National Park and the elephants, the Braemar group ventured to the coast of Sri Lanka to the ancient trading city of Gaulle. With its impressive architecture, especially the walls, it was a stark contrast to the Udawalawe National Park.
The Braemar schoolies alternative tour have arrived back in Colombo after travelling from Gaulle. They had some funds left over and visited an orphanage in Colombo to donate these to the sisters.
Michael provided an audio update covering the last 2 days of travel.
Update 11 – Final Update
The group finishes their trek with a day in Columbo and wet look forward to welcoming them home on Monday evening.
After a 16 Day, 800km journey around the Sri Lanka, the Braemar College Year 12 Schoolies Alternative program came to end last night.
The group safely landed in Melbourne and were greeted by family and friends at the arrivals hall of the International Terminal.
The tiredness from the long flights did not show as they recounted stories of their journey through the fields, mountains and schools of Sri Lanka.
Journeys such as these do not just happen. We are grateful for the work of the World Expedition team, especially Jeremy, who lead the group safely and with absolute professionalism. To Mrs Jones who kept friends and family linked with messages and comments through their time on the program.
Finally to Mr Warner and Miss Welsh, who accompanied, mentored and role modelled what engaged teachers and professional educators can achieve when working with a wonderful group of Braemar students.
Thanks to all who have followed the blog posts. Stay tuned for 2017, when the Braemar Schoolies Alternative head back to Mt Everest Base Camp.