Mirror Magazine


A job well done
By Sandrina Abeywardene
It was a mild, windy June day when 18 grade eleven students and three teachers from Overseas School of Colombo set off for Belihuloya. Their project base was the Kinchigune campsite, operated and run by the River Garden Resort. Their mission named Intermediate Zone was to complete a pioneering cross-curricular CAS (Creative, Action Service) project in community service and environment.

Belihuloya seemed the ideal location. The village is now a far cry from the golden era when the villagers manu-factured spears, swords and knives for the great king Dutugemunu (161-137 BC). While development has invaded, many villagers are still deprived of safe drinking water, good health care and education.

An important aspect of this location was its great diversity of flora and fauna. Situated between the hill country and low country, it is within easy reach of a number of breathtaking locations - gushing waterfalls, lush forests, grasslands and exciting caves.

"We teamed up with Eco-Team, a training company associated with The River Garden Resort, and The Centre for Nature Related Activities at Belihuloya. Our focus was to get an overall feel for the community and the land as well as to contribute to the development of the people. Eco Team and the staff at River Garden Resort conducted a preliminary survey of community needs and gave us a list of possible community service assignments. We opted to paint the local hospital. The last time it had been painted was a number of years ago," said Ms Jurangpathy, the CAS Programme Co-ordinator.

"The challenge for us was to carry out a project that was in collaboration with the villagers who didn't want to simply accept a donation."

"My expectations were more than met. I was close to nature and was at ease with the local community. Camping was fabulous and bathing in the river will be one of my fondest memories. The tents were beastie friendly with a great temperature inside," said an enthusiastic student.

All guests were provided with insect and waterproof tents along with comfortable mattresses and bed linen. They however had a lot of work to accomplish before they could relax. They were here on a mission to serve the community.

The day began with a nature trail through the dense jungle, with a guide to point out the exotic birds and rare plants. "During the trek, I saw a variety of plants, shrubs, insects and animals I had never seen before," exclaimed one student. Puffing and panting, tired but happy, the students finally made their way back to the campsite.

Then it was time to go to the Belihuloya hospital where aided by the masons and professional painters in the village, they set to work. They scraped, repaired and painted the walls and furniture and mopped the floors all day long. Supervised by the grama sevaka, the villagers joined in willingly, happy to see the renovations to the local hospital that were taking place before their eyes. The hospital staff too were pleased to pitch in and lots of willing hands helped the students accomplish their task.

After a few short breaks and a lot of hard work they managed to paint the entire hospital. "The villagers guided us and gave us tips on how to paint. Things went well and we managed to paint the whole hospital by the end of the day," said a student.

As the sun faded away, the students joined the villagers to celebrate a job well done in typical village style. It was quite a festival. University lecturers sang, school children danced, villagers performed traditional dances, the Overseas School children introduced themselves, sang and showed the villagers their own version of a hat game. Several local dignitaries including the provincial council minister and the school principal thanked the students for their efforts.

A trek to the Samanalaweva Hydro Project to observe the fauna and man's impact on the environment the following day wound up the project.

"I think I might come back, it's so beautiful here," mused Saku. " The painting of the hospital was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed working with the people in the village."

"The project gave the hospital a much-needed boost. The villages and students were able to work and interact together. We are very happy with the exposure we received and the outcome of the project. We were able to show the community that we care," said Anuruddha Bandara, Managing Director of Eco Team.

As Simran, a student summed up, "The trip was very different. We really roughed out by staying in a tent. Our nature trail took me bird watching for the first time. The food was very good too. Also knowing that I did a little to help the village is a really nice feeling."

The OSC philosophy states that education neither begins nor ends in the classroom or the examination hall. Infact the essential aspects of education may exist outside both - and it just might be among the intermediate zone.

A youthful presentation
By Ishani Ranasinghe
Armed with the power of youth, the magic of theatre and music and plain determination to work together for a common goal, the Interact Club of Visakha Vidyalaya is preparing for Mosaic.

Pix by Athula Devapriya

This project will be in two phases - Masquerade, a collection of four one-act plays and Muse, a festival of music.

Masquerade will feature the Interactors from the Interact Clubs of D. S. Senanayaka Vidyalaya and Royal College joining hands with the Visakhians.

Three of these plays will be presented by the individual schools while one play will be a combined effort. Each drama deals with a different issue, thereby providing variety to make an enjoyable evening.

The Model Family takes a look at the themes of youth, wealth and revenge all adding up to murder.

This dramatic interpretation that revolves around high class family life in the 21st Century will be presented by the Interactors of Visakha Vidyalaya.

Masquerade is about a girl in misery, a boy who reaches out, a friendship that grows between them and a death that shatters it all.

Masquerade, the first phase of Mosaic, will go on the boards on September 21 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre. Tickets will be available at Visakha Vidyalaya and at the Wendt.

And nothing will ever be the same again. Seven actors and actresses from the three schools will portray the roles.

The plays by the Interactors of Royal College and D. S Senanayake Vidyalaya promise to add to the entertainment.

The very enthusiastic committee said they wanted their project to be unique and memorable. They also want to give a wide range of Interactors a chance to show their skills. Promoting creativity is another aim.

"People now are more into arts, especially drama and we felt that a collection of plays would be the best way to draw the crowd," replied Project Chairperson Dhenushika Karunathilake when asked why they chose to do a drama festival. Doing something different seems to be what this group of bubbly organisers has in mind.

A percentage of the proceeds will go to the Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital and the Pelmadulla Drug Rehabilitation Centre. The rest of the proceeds will be used to finance several school and community service projects planned by the Interact Club of Visakha Vidyalaya.

Special day for Bridgetines
Today, Sunday, September 15 promises to be a day filled with fun, activity and entertainment for past and present Bridgetines, family, friends and wellwishers. After service at 7.30 a.m. at the school chapel, the morning will get off to a kick-start with the Bridgetine Walk 2002, which leaves the school at 8.00 a.m.

A whole day's activity has been planned to keep the young and the young at heart in step with each other. A programme of items performed by students, leading to a magic show by the internationally acclaimed Ronald de Alwis of Magicana followed by a premier ticket raffle draw, cookery demonstration, a children's fashion show, trade stalls and games of skill, a kiddies and amusement corner, and several food stalls will add to the fun and festivities of the day.

Leading designer Michael Wijesooriya's latest fashion collection with hair and make-up done by Ramani Fernando Salon Ltd, interludes of Latin American dance performed by Gayathri and Channa with DJ Loe, DJ Marz, DJ Doms and DJ K. J. from the 'Colombo 2000' manning the Disco, are other highlights. The final exciting event in the day's programme will be Damage providing live music from 8.00 p.m. onwards.

Tickets are priced at Rs. 200 and premier tickets offering bonus surprises are priced at Rs. 1000. Tickets for the fashion show and the Latino Dance are Rs 100.

Tickets will be available at St. Bridgets Convent.

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