Visitors since January 2005: 955278

Phase 59: April to June 2014

The last time Sumalee visited the children’s village was 12 years ago. At the beginning of April she and her brother Manuel came to visit their father Michael Kreitmeir. First the Little Smile children looked curiously but still timid at the guests, but after a short while the ice was broken.
Sumalee, member of the band
Next Generation Family“, came with her partner, the musician Fyah T, and they both were amazed – not only – by the great variety of plants in the nature reserve “Little Smile for Nature”. Fyah T found lots of inspiration and ideas for new songs at his visit to this entirely different world.
It has been almost 10 years since Michael and Manuel Kreitmeir opened a house together as a part of the emergency aid after the Tsunami. At the beginning of April 2014 they opened a house together again cutting the ribbon at the entrance of the new boy’s house on Hill Top.
For Manuel Kreitmeir Walli is part of his family. He was present when we found her with severe burns and then slowly nursing her back to health, he watched her grow up and met her again and again at numerous visits. When she disappeared after her marriage he was deeply concerned about her and it made him very sad to hear that we had lost her to the street again. So he felt all the more relieved that Walli and her son have found refuge in the small house that Little Smile built for them and which he now shows his sister, his girlfriend Shamali and Fyah T.

On January 14th at 11:20 the Buddhist year 2558 started. Around this date Sri Lanka goes into a two-week state of celebration. In the children’s village we also celebrate the Singhalese New Year, but not so loud and with the traditional lighting of the kitchen fire. For the first time, our trainee Krishanti was responsible for this ceremony in the kitchen and she did a very good job. The milk boiled over evenly, a good omen for the year that has just begun. 
Celebrating as one big family. Over weeks the children used every free minute to prepare a program with plays and dances. And so on April 14th these girls from the Moonlight house showed their Little Smile siblings and their Lokuthaththa the latest dances.
According to Singhalese tradition, on the third day of the New Year the head of the family blesses each family member and anoints them with oil that has been produced especially for this event. In Little Smile it took quite a long time until Michael Kreitmeir had blessed all members of the more than hundred headed family for the year 2558 according to Buddhist calendar.
In the children’s village we also give content and meaning to high Christian holidays. The children saw the suffering and dying of Jesus in a film about which they later reflected a lot and then painted pictures of their reflections on Good Friday.
More than one hundred eggs were cooked and dyed. Then on Easter morning Anka distributed the eggs to the children together with a special surprise – a little chocolate Easter bunny she had brought from Germany for each child. And thanks to the decoration Lenka Rühle had also sent this year from Füssen to the Sri Lankan mountain jungle, the chapel and the houses were nicely decorated for Easter.
Once a year we leave the daily routine behind and go together to Arungambay to the beach at the east coast. For most of the new kids this is the first time they see the sea. But, thanks to keen swimmers like Waruniya and Niroshani, the kid’s first fear is quickly forgotten.
Dikshi was born into a destitute family in a remote tea picker village of the UVA province. The poverty caused the parents to look for a place for their daughter where she would be able to live and learn and so the girl came to Mahagedara. With 12 years now she sees the sea for the first time in her life although her village lies only three hours away from the seaside.
It is not long since the driving instructor of the neighboring small town Wellawaya refused to instruct girls. So what? In the children’s village we do not need an instructor from outside. Anka shows the 18-year old Anusha what she has learnt from our driver Shante a few weeks ago. And Anusha learns quickly and drives the three wheeler – initially, of course, only on our sports field.
The end of the rainy season, which was very late this year, allows kids and staff in Mahagedara to meet again around the ancient Boddhi-tree in the evenings. This place below the large herbal garden is one of the children’s villages’ magical places.
Many years have passed since Michael Kreitmeir last visited this forest giant in a remote corner of the nature reserve. And just like then – when he first discovered the tree in the dense jungle – the founder of Little Smile was struck by its abundance of life, and he was thankful for having been able to protect this huge tree from cutting.
The first steps, the first word, kindergarden and school, time is flying – this is most notable with children. Even if it doesn’t appear so when you look at Chamilla, who surely does not weigh more than 30 kg, on May 18th she celebrates her 16th birthday, and she celebrates it with a BIG smile.
Finished – once again! Our carving teacher proudly presents the result of his occupation during the last months. His works show a naïve form of art, which in the past was practiced almost in every village, but has nowadays almost completely disappeared. Little smile enables to work without the slightest time pressure in our increasingly fast-paced world that is aiming for rapid success and will thus leave coming generations some impressing carvings. 
When a former child visits the children’s village, there is a lot to talk. Adhistamatha is amazed at how Little Smile has changed since she left 6 months ago. On the other hand, the big girls from Greenstar, who will all finish school this year, are amazed at how much their Akka, their big sister, has to tell them from life outside.
Only five weeks she spent in the children’s village with her three sisters, when the court order came: The girls have to return to their parent’s place. The 13 year-old girl still remembered how much she had suffered there. Sadly she said farewell and gave her Lokuthatha a picture from herself and him. But then an unexpected turn happened: The girl had opened her mouth in court when the judge asked her where she wishes to live. Only one week later she and one of her sisters came back to Little Smile.
In early May it finally happened: Walliamma lit the first fire in her own hut. What a memorable moment! Only a few meters away, Walli had fallen into a fire more than 10 ten years ago, suffered serious burns, was given up by her parents, declared dead. May be a new attempt for a happy ending of a normally sad ending? In any case Walli no longer has to live helplessly exposed to wind and weather or assaults from men.
In Sri Lanka Father’s Day is celebrated in June. In Germany, however, it is celebrated in May and so Michael Kreitmeir got his Father’s Day present on the 29th of May. Totally unexpected the twin sisters Sanduni and Yenuri came to Little Smile. And obviously the two year-old girls were not discouraged by the blue eyes, the white skin and the size of their new surrogate father. And for Michael Kreitmeir? For the founder of Little Smile the two little girls were the most wonderful Father’s Day present of his life.