Visitors since January 2005: 965365

Phase 62: January till March 2015

A new year with old problems. Now that public attention concentrates on other catastrophes, all the official promises are no longer valid. Ten weeks after the terrible landslide in Koslanda that left almost 100 families homeless, the victims are living in dreadful conditions in provisional camps. Thus, it is hardly surprising that more and more of the affected children are brought to us, just like these three sisters who were standing in front of our gate with all their possessions in hands on the first day of the new year 2015.
Helplessness that hurts! Sometimes we are forced to let things happen which are surely not for the benefit of the children. Especially victims of domestic violence, who the Court has sent to us, often have to leave their place of refuge after only a few months – frequently due to the pressure of their own tormentors, their parents. When the parents promise to change and want their children back, authorities often force us to let the children go.
This year the big January celebration in Little Smile was not held on the New Year’s day but on the Tamil holiday Thai Pongal. At sunrise, all children and child-minders met in the boy’s home on Hill Top. Together we went to the mountain peak “heaven’s door” to pray. After the prayers Michael Kreitmeir and the senior child-minder, Bawani, blessed all children.
It is not so long ago that Saroja was our little baby, the little cutie. Cute she still is, but no little baby anymore. In January, the 12-year-old girl celebrates her “big-girl-ceremony” – as always with a smile on her face. After their first menstruation, Sri Lankan girls are prepared for the new stage of life they are entering and get their first gold jewelry and new clothes.
That’s reason for joy! At the end of January, a delayed Christmas greeting with ginger bread from Nuremberg arrives at the mountain jungle in Sri Lanka. The two Bavarians, Michael Kreitmeir and Annkathrin Blank will share the Bavarian speciality with the child-minders on this last Sunday in January.
Whenever former residents visit us there is a lot to talk about. Sometimes, the children that once lived here proudly present their own children, like these two sisters, who lived in the children’s village from 2000 to 2006. And since Michael Kreitmeir once was and still is their “Loku-thaththa” – the big father – he is now virtually the grandpa. How many of these so-called grandchildren does he have? He knows of 48, he says, adding these two it makes the round number of 50 – but, he proudly adds, there are surely much more.
Instead of hanging around for months waiting for their examination results, doing nothing like so many other students, the twins Mikel and Robin, Amile and Prashanti decided to work for Little Smile. Thus, at the beginning of February they held the first self-earned money in their hands. To present a good example, the four young people got their envelope in the boy’s home on Hill Top.
In February we celebrated a Pusha in the ruins of a declined Hindu temple and asked for the blessing of its forthcoming total renovation. This kovil lies directly next to the boy’s home Hill Top. After the death of the temple guard, the building declined and finally disappeared under meter-high weeds. For Bawani, the head of Hill Top, it is a long-desired deep wish to reconstruct this temple and fill it with life again.
A real big family! At the end of February, the magic number of 100 was reached – 100 children live, learn and laugh in Little Smile. Taking a picture of the entire big family, however, is not easy at all. As we say in German, “it is easier to guard a sack of fleas”. On the last Sunday in February, we made a new attempt, but of course, there are again some of us missing on the picture.
Group portrait with three ladies: On her birthday Anka also visits Bawani and her 24 boys at the boy’s home taking along our Leoni as kind of female support. No question, that on her second birthday here with us in Little Smile, we celebrate the Franconian accordingly. Congratulations Anka, that you are now really a part of our family!
Ten years ago Dominik Pfuhler from Eichstätt visited the children’s village for the first time. Visitors who are fascinated by our way of life here at Little Smile stay captivated and always come back again. And so we sit together exchanging memories, talk and marvel about all the things that have happened since the last visit.
If you have been abandoned yourself, like these girls, you have a big heart for abandoned and helpless animals like these street dogs. At least twice a year, approximately one month after the puppies are born, the “big killing” takes place on the country’s streets and in the backyards. Four dog puppies tied up in a sack were left at our gate. We will try everything – buy medicine, delouse the poor creatures, wash and feed them. Despite all efforts, they all will die in the course of two weeks and the girls will bitterly weep.
Not only the entrance to our teaching hospital for Ayurvedic medicine in Buttala has been newly designed. Since the former Little Smile protégé, Saradha, has taken over control there, everything is constantly improving. In March, even 14 young women started with the training as a traditional doctor.
When you have rice three times a day, 365 days a year, then even soft white bread seems to be something very special. No wonder then, that there is great excitement about a breakfast with bread. This menu novelty resulted from a staff shortage. Mid March, two of our trainees had found a good job outside and so it became difficult to organize the rice cooking at 4 o’clock in the mornings. Now we have bread in the morning three times a week. Let’s see how long the enthusiasm continues.
A three wheeler with thick metal sheets and an even “thicker” history. The vehicle, named after his youngest son Marco, was a Christmas gift from Michael Kreitmeir. It was in the year 2002 when he gave it to the children’s village and when it made its maiden trip to the Christmas mass in Beragalle. After quite an eventful history, serving at a temple and the cultural centre near Galle, during which Marco 2 was treated rather badly, Michael Kreitmeir brought it back to the children’s village again.  After a complete renovation Marco 2 now beams radiantly just like its new owners, Saradha and her husband Nilesh in Buttala.  
Precisely opposite to the Little Smile school a garage was built years ago. The resulting noise and the soiling were immense. Then in October 2014, the heavy rains came and the garage as well as the neighboring houses slipped. Little Smile bought the land and built supporting walls and planted trees. At the end of March, works started to build a panorama terrace, true to the motto “from ugly to beautiful!   
The laying of foundation stones and thus the construction works never stop. Since it’s almost impossible to find good and honest construction companies, Little Smile simply builds everything on its own and with its own workers. At the end of March, a community hall, a temple a three-storage school building and two nursery schools are under construction.