Visitors since January 2005: 955278

Phase 63: April till June 2015

Her own children are grown up and so our Hill-Top-mother, Bawani, can dedicate herself even more to the boys entrusted to her. There are currently 24 boys living in Hill-Top and each one of them wants attention, care and love. And everyone is crazy – especially the little ones – about being fed by their Amma.
Conflicts are often settled through violence amongst the poorest, especially in the Tamil tea villages the value of a human life is very low. The mother of one of our children had quite some luck in a dangerous situation – trying to catch a pepper thief she “only” ended up in hospital. All the greater was the joy when she got a visit from her daughter who is living in the children’s village.
Each house has been decorated nicely for Easter. A lot of the decorations were made by the children and their minders, but also presents from Germany helped to decorate everything festively. This year the first prize went to Moonlighthouse. The girls had decorated the entire common room like a fictitious Easter landscape.
We celebrated Easter relatively early this year on the 5th of April. As always, “auntie” Lenka from Füssen had sent an Easter parcel. The wisdom girls liked the twin angels most, who were immediately adopted by our twin girls Sindu and Sandu. To make sure that the other girls were not left empty handed, it was agreed that the angels should stay each day with a different girl.
Three ladies and a young male. Rocky our female shepherd dog temporarily came from Hill Top back to the children’s village Mahagedara where she was happily welcomed by our male dog Leo. Rocky, however, showed little interest in the relatively persistent admirer and it is doubtful that we will get young dogs again. The two lightweights Shanti and Rebecca insisted on looking after the dogs, though it was not always clear who led whom through the children’s village.
The Singhalese New Year’s day, April 14, traditionally begins with the lighting of the hearth. The only 18-year old Ishani, who took over more and more responsibilities in our kitchen in the past year, continues this nice tradition and she is doing it skillfully the way she always does everything.
The monks from Nikkaphota paid their traditional New Year’s visit and blessed the children. For many years, Little Smile has been supporting the Buddhist convent where also almost 50 children monks are living.
The Hindu temple in Poonagala was supposed to open on October 29, 2014. Then, one day before, a terrible catastrophe occurred. In a neighboring village, the earth started to slide burying about 50 people. Opening celebrations were canceled. We had to wait until April to open the Kovil ceremoniously and hand it over to the villagers.
She looks more like a young woman in her early 20th than 27. For 13 years already, Luxmi has been living in the children’s village, has learned tailoring and for many years now she has been responsible for our sewing school. She is devoted to Little Smile with all her heart and soul and is presently also looking after Lucky house where the bigger girls live. Today all the child minders in Mahagedara are former residents of the children’s village. Actually, Luxmi did not want a birthday party, but then was surprised with a cake and a little celebration.
At the end of April started the harvest and sorting of mace. Due to a larger order from the company AVO up to 30 women, most of them widows with children had a regular job during many weeks.
Here May 1st, the day of work, is of course a normal working day. If you take care of children, you are doing more than “only” your job, you are doing your work with all your heart and you’re working all the time. So it is no wonder that it is almost impossible to find good child minders outside the children’s village. This is why we rely on the young women who grew up here themselves, and who are now taking care of their Little Smile siblings. The only exception is Annkathrin Blank, shortly Anka, who after years of engaged volunteer service has finally completely grown into this great job. 
When Anka first came to the children’s village 8 years ago, she was surprised to see that people cleaned the houses with a water hose. In the meantime, she has learned that not everything people are doing here necessarily makes sense. Especially about cleanliness and hygiene the natives don’t know much – so who should have taught our children how to clean properly. This is why we provide visual instructions in proper cleaning.
Sashikala came to the children’s village when she was still a little girl, she does not know her parents nor has anyone else ever shown up to look after her. Over the past 11 years, the children’s village was all she has ever known. At the end of April, she will move to the children’s centre in Monaragala to develop more self-confidence and independence there and to gain new impressions in this from Little Smile financially supported institution. Parting was clearly difficult for both sides.
Nevidika has really been lucky. Actually, we had no place for the small but very vivid Tamil girl. Of course, the mother could not protect her daughter let alone take care of herself. At the time they were asking for admission, three music teachers from Bavaria were visiting us, and when they saw that we were about to reject the suppliers, they were looking so desperately sad, that we simply had to say YES and accept the little girl.

Continually drunk people intruded into the village school where already cows and goats were living. There was no money for a fence or the badly needed repairs on the houses. So once again help of the construction team from the children’s village was needed, and as always, we were the only ones who helped.
Not only children knock on Little Smile’s gate asking for help. This old monk would long have been dead without our monthly support. Since he is sick, he cannot go around and beg for his daily food ration not to mention afford medicine. We hadn’t seen the old Sadu over four months and were all the more happy to see him alive when he showed up again at the children’s village.
Since the elections of the new president in January, the hostile policy towards NGOs has stopped and hence has led to a better relationship between Little Smile and Sri Lankan authorities. In June the new district administrator visits the children’s village, something her predecessor has not done over the past 6 years. Deeply impressed by what we are doing for children in need, she asked for permission to come back again with the entire department.
The challenges Little Smile is dealing with are as numerous as the sufferings and needs in the country. One particularly important aspect of our work is to give children and young people, especially in the country’s remote poor regions, the opportunity to learn something. Mid June, we could open this community centre in the mountain jungle and hand it over to the people who live there.
Sunday, 21st of June, is when we celebrate Father’s Day in Sri Lanka. 103 Little Smile children and all child minders had spent much effort and thoughts on organizing a nice program to honour Michael Kreitmeir. And since so many were involved, it was a long program and although it was really very nice the honoured fell asleep. No wonder because he is simply not used to doing nothing.