visit to kakkaiyankulam

The next morning we left at 7am to visit the second village, and the whole thing went a lot better. This is one of the communities of Moors (Muslims) who were evicted from their home villages by the LTTE in 1992, and so CI picked this one because of its similarity to Pallivasalpiddy, the one chosen earlier. We ran the Sarvodaya workshop for the adults and the cricket workshop for the children simultaneously, which gave each workshop a lot more time.There are a lot more children in Kakkaiyankulam than at Chiraddikulam (possibly because many of the Chiraddikulam children were recruited by the LTTE) and so apart from the brief workshop on cricketing stances and general style, we were able to have two short games of cricket, one for the boys and one for the girls. There was a marked difference between the children of the two villages – the Muslims were clearly a lot more energetic and boisterous and ready to play. They have also definitely had more exposure to cricket than the others had, knowing famous cricketers’ names and their various idiosyncratic styles of playing. They also displayed quite a bit of talent; Mr Pushpakumara was quite impressed with five boys in particular, and said he would do what he can to ensure that they can be tried out for a set of provincial matches in September.

The Sarvodaya workshop was also much more successful in this village, given a lot of factors; it was morning, the volunteers were not tired out from a long journey, and there was more time to really get into the programme. The villagers were asked the same question of whether they would be happy if just presented with money, and upon their enthusiastically affirmative answer, one volunteer helped faciliate playing small games with them to help them to realise they were wrong. The first game was more like an icebreaker, to help the villagers get over their shyness of speaking. They were given a small toy monkey, and told to tell the monkey their names and what they did, and they weren’t allowed to repeat what someone else had said before them. The next game was one in which the villagers were given paper money to set up a “business” of making hats, and through investing and losing their “money” the villagers themselves realised that in order to succeed even at small cottage industries, they would need some sort of basic training, and then the real workshop began of what kind of things they were interested in doing to gauge what kind of training they would need. Based on all this feedback, the volunteers from Sarvodaya agreed to work with us to create a training programme for the villagers, and will get back to us by the 1st of August. Since the second workshop was a lot more successful than the first, I was considerably heartened and hope that future workshops will be more successful. We also looked over the piece of land where we are hoping to build the village’s community centre, and floorplans are forthcoming. We left for Colombo after lunch, and the ride back was a little longer than usual given that we were in a larger vehicle. I think we will stick to using a smaller van after this!

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