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Phase 37: July to September 2008

Despite all the difficulties – and there were enough on the East Coast, the building of the Ashraff Memorial Hospital in Kalmunai slowly but surely rises into the skies. In July the outside surface was complete and work could be started on the roof.
Next to the large construction projects in Kalmunai, there are also numerous other smaller sites in Galle and Buttal, such as the house for teachers next to the International School in the children's village of Little Smile. Since in the end we can only rely on a dozen workers, our project managers have to move from construction site to construction site. Even Anton and Michael also are often on the road. Often the managers as well as the workers are working under difficult circumstances, therefore the safety and security situation is tense.
Again and again, attacks occurred in Buttala. Volunteer militias who were to bring security to the region had intensified the situation. Despite this we were able to keep all the workers safe and sound over the two years of construction on the Window's Center and the hostpital in Buttala for which we are extremely thankful. As a public sign for our thankfulness, a statue of the Buddha was erected in front of the hospital as a place of peace.
Always when we complete a building, the last step is for one of our monks to hang the insignia on it, such as here where the city insignia of Halle in Westfalen, Germany is applied to the Boy's Home. We always hold a moment's silence to thank the donors for their trust and patience...and then we must continue on.
A visit in the House of Protection, SAHANA NIVASA in Galle. Once a year the children come out of the mountains on the coastal city in the South and visit the other part of the large Little Smile family. This meeting is a sign of Hope in a time in which this land suffers from separation and confrontation.
The talents and interests of each and every kid needs to be sought and cultivated. The options for the children in Little Smile are broad and many. What is most loved is the music class witih Anton Weresingha. In the picture from left: Banti, Rangika, Anita, Samantika, Biola und Nadika. But there is one thing you won't find in Little Smile: pressure. And like the Sri Lanka saying: No master fell just from heaven! Therefore, practice, practice, practice!
When 2 years ago Maduchani stood full of fear at out front door, it was difficult for her to learn to trust again. It was late, very late, since Madushani was already 11 years old and experienced awful things. But it was thankfully not to late! With patience, attention and love it was possible to bring this little girl back into the life of a young, happy teenager. In July Madushani celebrated her fest of becoming a "big girl."
To not have fear, to feel safe, accepted, the same whether boy or girl, Singhelese or Tamil, Buddhist, Hindu or Christian. If the girls from the Lucky House dance, then they are simply excited about it since both Tamil and Singhelese try it out and no one can say which kid belongs to which ethnic group.
Saroha and Bawani celebrate their birthdays on the same day. Although not custom in Sri Lanka, in Little Smile every child's birthday is celebrated by singing a song and lighting candles in order to say to each and every child: you are one of a kind and you have a very special day of the year just for yourself.
The end of July is the time to harvest pepper, cloves and nutmeg. Because of the tense economic situation and the growing deficit in provisions, it is common during the night for the fields to be plundered. Almost a quarter of our harvest was lost this way!
Everyone helps together, care takers as well as children, when it is time to harvest. Through our spices that we export to the company AVO in Germany, we are able to make our contribution to the financial preservation of the social projects of Little Smile. Laksha, the care taker in the Honest House with the 9 to 13 year old boys, also is no exception and helps here picking peppers.
It is a fest for Warunia and Bawani while the children sing and clap in rhythm as the pepper berries are separated from their stems. During the harvesting season, each child helps for one hour per day. Through this develops team spirit and in the evenings the little helpers are proud.
Since prices, and therefore also wages, have extremely risen, then everyone needs to help, whether those in the kitchen, interns or care takers. As always, foremost on the front line: Bawani, our "Little Smile Mother" (in the picture to the right).
More and more people in Sri Lanka cannot keep up with the rising prices of as much as 50% in one year for food, and more and more become poor and suffer. Often men abandon their families and leave the women and children to face a life of disgrace, poverty and suffering. Our watchman in the natural reserve is also struggled to survive.
In Dikkapitia, our farm 7 kilometers from the children's village, last month we planted more than 50,000 cinnamon bushes. Again and again the mountain terraces have to be cleaned of weeds since Little Smile does not use chemicals or pesticides on their crops. In every aspect of Little Smile, widows with children find work and a chance for an income.
When Big Brother Manuel (Manu Ajja) comes to visit, then Rebekka is not alone in her joy. It is not easy for Manuel, who visits Little Smile each year, to see everyone fully and therefore some young ladies use all their charm to win the attention of their big brother.
While it was continually raining on the south coast, it was extremely dry in the mountains during July and August. Everywhere were forest fires and water was scarce. It is good that we have our own source of water in Little Smile. Our 4 year old, Eveangeli, finds it wonderfully refreshing.
At the end of August it is finally complete and the newly renovated Hindu temple in the children's village was dedicated. While the country invests in confrontation instead of understanding, we show that tolerance and mutual awareness is the better way to live together in a country where so many different cultures must live side by side.
The resurrection: a symbol that shows that death does not mean the end. Our carving teacher, inspired from a picture that Michael Kreitmeir brought back from Germany, carved a figure for our Maria Chapel. For him as a Buddhist it was a great honor that engrossed him for over a month.