Visitors since January 2005: 955278

Phase 38: October to December 2008

On the 18th of October it was ready! Our center in Buttala where people traumatized by war and violence can find help has been opened. Little Smile Aloka (Aloka means translated “the place where the light comes from”) will be the first rehabilitation center in Sri Lanka, focusing especially on taking care of people after suicide attempts.
The Minister of Social Affairs and of Women, Sumedha G. Jayasena, and the representatives of the Department of Health could not believe their eyes when Michael Kreitmeir showed them the main building of the center in Buttala: 5 surgery rooms, hospital bedrooms, a pharmacy, apartments for the doctor and nurses and a lot more. With this center Michael Kreitmeir fulfilled a promise he made to the minister shortly after the tsunami: “When Little Smile builds something, then in 20 years something positive will still come from it.”
Also from the South Coast there is news of success. In “Sahana Nivasa,” the House of Comfort, the little children showed what they have already learned. More than 100 children are already signed up for admittance. Those who cannot find a place anywhere else, and therefore have no chance to find a way, will find a home here through the help of Little Smile.
On October 27, the Tamiles in Sri Lanka celebrated their second most important holiday, Deepawali. On this day the people, so goes the telling, were freed from the yoke of an evil king. The darkness of the earth gave way to light. On this day a communal feast is celebrated in Little Smile.
In addition the very normal everyday life continues in the children’s village with its many small worries and problems. But for every girl there is a special moment in this everyday routine: when her first menstruation begins. In a very beautiful and festive ceremony the childhood is bid farewell and a new phase of life begins.
In October Nilmini, Anita and Biola celebrated this moment.
On November 1 the Little Smile family commemorated all the people who have helped us at some point but since has passed away. In the Chapel of Mary a very special prayer was held with a lot of flowers and even more tears when Lokuthatha talked about his mother, her love and her passing away. Saradha, who was able to get to know Maria Kreitmeier in person, holds the new urn in which a part of the ashes of this founding member of Little Smile will be kept.
And continually poverty knocks on the door of the children´s village. These three sisters were brought by a grandmother and mother. The five were living from begging on the street. For the girls this life was growing more and more dangerous. After an attempted rape, they feld to the children’s village.
Humor is when you laugh despite…Only on the first day of an 8 day long rice harvest did the sun shine. Since rice cannot get wet at all during a harvest (it will otherwise sprout immediately), there was a state of emergency in the middle of November in the children’s village. Bawani and her assistants went to their physical limits in order to bring the rice harvest home safely.
At 9 years old Asha and her then 12 year old brother Kasun came to Little Smile. In mid-December she celebrated her 17th birthday in the children´s village. One year ago Asha started her 3 year training to become a care taker here. She wants to be a good Aka (big sister) for her smaller brothers and sisters in Little Smile. In this way she wants to give something back that she herself found here: shelter, care and love.
At end of November, the small ones in the children’s village show proudly what they have learned during the last year. In four groups 28 three to five year olds are gently and with fun introduced to learning.
There is not much left of the boys’ house on Hill Top. It was clear this building was in the path of a wild elephant bull. Already one year ago probably this same animal pushed in the wall of the kitchen. And since an intelligent person does not provoke, we will rebuild somewhere else the kitchen for the boys.
Regular visits from elephants, especially during the dry season, occur when the animals are foraging for food and therefore come closer to the village. When this happens it is always a precarious time for the boys on Hill Top.
The head of Little Smile Organic, Shiran de Silva, shows the ins-and-outs “organic farming”. Here on the farm in Little Smile, Dikkapitia, he not only teaches the small farmer but also classes and even the officials in the Department of Agriculture. 2008 was a successful year for us in the cultivation of spices. Little Smile Organic now tries to receive the “Fair Trade” logo.
A brown Madonna with a brown Jesus baby: during the Holy Night procession down to the Chapel of Mary, Darshani carries the child of Christ made of clay by the children of Little Smile. Even the small ones take part and pray at midnight. They sing and are dazzled by the hundreds of oil lamps illuminating the banana plantation that surrounds the chapel of Little Smile.
The Moonlight Girls were thrilled when their “Aunt Biggi” from Germany came to visit at Christmas. Biggi Haertung had worked for three month at the end of the year in the children’s village. It is a special treat for the children to see they are not forgotten. And when somebody who had been here returns, the excitement is quite big. This is even more so if the person, like Biggi, has lived and worked so intensively with the children.
Where will the path lead us in 2009?
At the end of 2008, with the bank crisis also arriving in Sri Lanka, the savings of the children’s help association was in danger. Each day in the coming year will certainly be filled with its challenges. It is therefore even more important that people are shown the way, are not left alone and can find trust in someone.