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Dare to be happy!

Nicolas Bouvier, this outstanding travel writer, was in Sri Lanka – called Ceylon at that time - in 1955, one year before I was born. His travel book says: “If we knew what lies ahead, we would never dare to be happy.”
What to write looking back on a year that was so incredibly packed with all kinds of incidents – apart from good moments with very difficult ones too? While Sri Lanka successfully advertises tourism and the tourists are numerously coming back to the “land of smiles”, many obstacles are put in the way of the work of non-governmental organizations in the country and social projects are suspiciously observed and unfortunately frequently also hindered.
But I don’t want to write about intrigues, persecution or my time in prison. Sometimes you have to pay the price for following your beliefs. I believe in truth and sincerity and that of all things you can realize in life in the end only love leaves lasting traces behind. In my dark moments in jail it was this conviction, this knowledge, that gave me the strength to believe that it was not in vain what I, what Little Smile, has achieved during the last 11 years – no matter what the future might bring – because: Love remains!
Grace is very small for her 8 years. She lived in the dry zone near Kataragama. Her parents, Tamils without home and means, could not even protect the little girl from drunken men sexually molesting her. Someone told them about a village of smiles, a place of refuge even for Tamil girls. Hope brought them here – they have been wandering more than 100 kilometers to get here, because they had no money for a bus ticket. 2010 Grace found a home and love here at the children’s village just as 16 more children in need did during the last year. So it was a good year!
Wherever I meet Grace today, she smiles at me and takes my hand with total confidence. What I see when I look into her eyes – this means happiness to me! And this is why I dare to face the future, no matter what it might bring.
2010 really was a good year, because especially during the darkest times we could experience that we were not alone, that there were – particularly in Germany – people who were with us.
Filled with this certainty, it is indeed possible to face what the future brings, and the days, weeks and months of 2011 will bring happiness for children in need, and thus joy for us.
THANK YOU for confidently going this way together with us!

In the name of my beliefs,
in the name of those I am responsible for,
in the name of all colleagues
I wish you with all my heart
moments of happiness and joy in 2011
 
Yours,
Michael Kreitmeir