Visitors since January 2005: 927062

Phase 52: July to September 2012

Most of the spices – especially pepper – are harvested in July and August. Although harvest was good, the fruits were quite small due to the long drought. Additionally more and more thieves steal our fruits. At the farm in Dikkapitia the spices are packed into the new cans at the beginning of August. Pepper – black and white – cinnamon and cloves, altogether almost 20,000 Little Smile spice cans are supposed to start their long journey to Bavaria in the second week of August.
We stay in contact with many former inhabitants of the children’s village and most of the time their lives are far from being “successful”. Sometimes it seems as if the sad story of their mothers is repeating itself: early pregnancy, left by the baby’s father, outcast by the society, exploited by men again and again. But even if things get really bad, there is always a plate of rice, a comforting word and medical help waiting at Little Smile.
On August 23, precisely two years after his release, Michael Kreitmeir visits the prison in Monaragala with a group of children. It is already his fifth visit and will surely not be his last. With these visits he keeps the promise given to his former fellow prisoners when he was released: “I will never forget the time here, the experience and you!” After a short performance by the children with songs and dances, each prisoner gets a new Sarong in white, the prescribed color for prisoners. Samadi and Sarah help their Lokuthatha to hand over the gifts.
Although the culture and meeting centre “Urumaya” in Pilane near Galle has not yet be opened officially, many people – especially Buddhist monks – already come to visit it. Reflection, meditation, immersion, experience once again the spirit of this country’s culture, all this has already become reality in Little Smile Urumaya.
If you are the father of so many children, you have to defy heat and accept bad and jammed roads to visit the different children’s homes on a regular basis. And all the greater is the joy in Monaragala when Lokuthatha finally appears.
She did it! Bawani’s eldest daughter Divia has passed the final examinations for “Advance Level”, which she studied more than 100 km away from Little Smile. And now after these two rather difficult years so far away, namely in Batticaloa on the eastern coast, she can go back home again. Proudly her mother is waiting in front of the monastery, where she was staying during that time.
In Sahana Nivasa in Galle we start the new school year at the beginning of September with renewed energy – buildings have been renovated and a qualified English teacher has been hired. From now on English will also be the first language in kindergarten and pre-school.
Reunion with old and new friends. Annkathrin Blank uses a short break within the German exam stress period to visit the children’s village for the sixth time. And although her beloved turtle has disappeared, she finds a new creeping friend at her first round through the enormous garden in Mahagedara.
Coming home, feeling at home in Mahagedara. This is true for the children as well as for the German child minder, Annkathrin Blank, who everybody calls Anka here. Days are long here and full of responsibility, you do not work but live with and for the children and you share their worries and help with whatever is necessary and then suddenly you are at home here in the mountains. Anka is the first German volunteer, who really lives that and has won acceptance from children as well as from employees and has become part of the big Little Smile family in the children’s village Mahagedara.
Life goes on and little girls someday become big girls. The first menstruation is celebrated traditionally in Sri Lanka. Madushani never hurries and actually she wasn’t really keen to become a Big Girl with more responsibility. But life goes on and one day at the beginning of September it was her turn.
Encourage talents of children also outside Little Smile. When children grow up in misery and there is a shortage of everything, it is hard for them to find a way out even if they are talented. And this is why we always also support children who live outside the children’s village – just like this little dancer, who has competed against 1000 dancers and made it to the final round of 6 in the nationwide dancing competition.
Never be left alone, when you are sad or even sick!
The 12 year old Welli bravely tries to smile, but she is scared. Pain torments her, her face is swollen – a strange virus has weakened her and already affected her kidneys as it turned out later. Good, that there is someone, who takes her into his arms, encourages her and brings her to the hospital of the provincial capital.
On the name-day of his first son Michael, on the 29th of September, Shiran Silva, manager of the Little Smile farms, becomes father for the second time. Only one day later he brings his little family to the children’s village. He wants Michael Kreimeir – the head of the Little Smile family – to bless the new born.