Visitors since January 2005: 944699

Phase 72

July to September 2017

Together with his son Michael, Hermann Josef Kreitmeir, founding member of Little Smile, is looking back on their time together with the projects in Sri Lanka. Even at an advanced age, Michael’s father still is interested in what is happening in and around the children’s village. Now he has called his son to say goodbye.
More than once Michael Kreitmeir wished his workers from Sri Lanka would appear and assist him. Since this did not happen and the old home in Eichstätt had to be refurbished prior to handover, Kreitmeir simply became a furniture remover and painter himself.
The secondary school in Rebdorf and the high school in Raubling are both loyally continuing their engagement for Little Smile which they started 2005 shortly after the tsunami catastrophe. With great pleasure Michael Kreitmeir paid a visit bringing spices and many stories (here visiting the school in Rebdorf).
During his short visit in Germany at the beginning of July, Little Smile’s redesigned so called “showcase office” almost became a second home for Michael Kreitmeir. Work at the office was a firm part of his daily routine. He also met his two sons Manuel and Marco there as well as all the other members of the association.
As the saying goes, the way to one’s heart is through the stomach and since eating is one of the favorite activities of the children in Mahagedara, there was a welcome dinner organized at the arrival of Michael Kreitmeir. And since some kids have eyes bigger than their stomach, Anka precautionary distributed the food.
Every year in July starts the main harvest of pepper. When Kreitmeir returned to Sri Lanka, the harvest work, all the picking, cleaning and drying of peppercorns, which have become so important for Little Smile, started everywhere – on the farms, the children’s village and the boy’s home on Hill Top. The sale of pepper constitutes one of Little Smile’s financial pillars.
More and more, we are trying to improve Little Smile’s income with the production of white pepper. Of course, the refining means much more work and so the pepper season lasts until December. Next year we will also produce fermented pepper at Little Smile.
For a long time Anka Blank mourned for Leo, the shepherd dog that had died much too soon. After almost two years, however, it was time to stop mourning and what could be more suitable than Bobby, the little Dalmatian puppy, Doni is carrying in her arms? In only a few months, she will probably be able to ride on Bobby.
It can no longer be overlooked: Our Bawani becomes a grandmother. It would no doubt have been fine if Divia would have waited a bit longer and continued working as a teacher, but apparently, she and her husband could not wait any longer to be parents. So we simply share the joy with the future parents.
At the beginning of August, the great wood destruction started in the neighboring village. Hundreds of years the mighty “Mare-trees” lined the road from Beragalle to Wellawaya and have become a landmark, especially for Koslanda. On August 4, the work of destruction reached Koslanda. In only a few days the road builders destroyed what had grown hundreds of years.
How time is flying is perfectly reflected in the fact how fast children become adults, little girls become mothers and little boys fathers. When these former kids, like Kasun, come with their own kids to visit the place of their childhood, one hopes that they pass on what they have once learned here.
Niluka also came for a visit and showed her husband and her son where she grew up and learned all the important things for her life. She explained our girls detailed how it was when she was living here and how important it is to use the time here to become strong and competent for the life outside Little Smile.
Particularly in August, when almost everywhere in Sri Lanka water has become scarce you realize how rich you are when you have rivers and waterfalls on your own property. Once again, it becomes obvious how important it is to protect the environment, because only in those regions without deforestation there is still water bubbling from springs during the dry season.
In summer the new sewing course started at the children’s village. Having a profession is especially for young women very important. When worse comes to worse they can make their own living and do not utterly depend on men. Mothers can easily work as a tailor from home and thus reduce dependencies. This is the reason why all girls in the children’s village shall get the chance to learn a profession in addition to the normal school career.
Big surprise for Michael Kreitmeir at his visit in Buttala. Saradha, who is in charge of the ayurvedic teaching hospital there, is expecting her second baby in January. Before that, however, much work remains to be done with the construction of a new center for the production of natural medicine.
The resemblance is truly remarkable. The four daughters are the spitting image of her mother Selvi. Since the beginning of 2016 she lives with her six children in Little Smile – apart from the little Krishan with the yellow shirt, she has another son, the 12-year old Sandaruwan (not on the photo). Here they found protection and new hope.
The country needs strong women, because they are the once who mostly carry the entire responsibility for the family. Early practice makes perfect. In the children’s village, with so many younger “siblings” the older girls like Saroja have many opportunities to practice carrying.
Little Smile needs strong women. It is good that Anka has been a member of the management team for more than three years. Almost incidentally, she shows in the mountain jungle what girl power is – not only, but also on a motorbike.
Again there were painted pictures as birthday gifts – lots of them. Michael Kreitmeir got almost 100 paintings on the morning of his birthday. The most frequent motifs were the elephants, which nowadays even come to the children’s village, and the common life in a small but very special world with the name Little Smile.
On September 18 Hermann Josef Kreitmeir sent his birthday wishes and sang together with his daughter Daniela a birthday song for his son Michael. Eight days later, on September 26, the founding member of Little Smile peacefully passed away in the arms of his daughter. Thank you for everything and particularly for teaching your son the values on which Little Smile is based: respect, appreciation, tolerance and love.
On the evening of September 26 all children, employees, Anka and Michael Kreitmeir gathered in the chapel in the children’s village. The news of grandpa’s death has spread like wildfire. Many of the kids still remembered his last visit, the moments they shared with him playing, singing and listening to his stories. Together with seven Franciscans who were on spiritual retreat in Little Smile at that time, they all prayed and cried a lot on this evening.