Boys Industrial Home, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Kerri picked us up from our digs and took us to an outlet shop. Wow, an embroidered vest with a £12.99 label for £1.25, sadly I couldn’t find anything else – other than a couple of cushion covers for Sleeping Indian. My wallet rejoices..... Huh. Kerri bought a load of underpants for the Boys Home and then we headed to a single storey, huge mall. There I bought loads of new films at a dollar each, found a few more bits for the boys and we settled to lunch. I couldn’t look at Bear’s but enjoyed my biryani.
We passed a couple of sites on the way to pick up Harri from school.
After a nice cup of tea, we finished sorting our gifts for the boys, sweets I hear you say. The boys have never had a gift for themselves and for once........ Kerri made us pose with our loot.
We arrived at The Boys Industrial Home to find the younger ones hard at their homework. A few of the older ones on work experience were not back yet.
A new bunkhouse is being built for the bigger boys, currently bedding down on the stage in the hall we had just left. A new shower block – a real first as the boys had to nip across to the school next door to have a wash. The new water pipe has been a constant struggle and is seen as a temporary measure.
The indoor food prep area.
Pots and pans.
Outside cooking area and plate rack.
The young ones bunk house.
A new boy arrived today, very poorly and sadly no doctor visit or antibiotics. The average mattress and holes in the mosquito netting.
Back in the main hall Kerri called up each lad, Bear shook their hand and off they went back to their work, shyly delighted but no ripping in to their gift. Some promised to take them back to their village on their next school break, one was going to give his to a school friend the next day for his birthday. All throat lump producing.
We asked for a picture with all the boys and one posed with his gift. He would not let go and gradually they all came to pose, some showed delight, some unable to do so. Some of these boys have had a tragic start, some have drug abusing parents and some are orphans.
Established in 1890 by
the Methodist Church of then Ceylon, the Boys Industrial Home, is popularly
known as the BIH. It has been and still is, a haven, not only for orphans but
boys who need to be removed from their present environment; boys from tragic
family situations, caused by various addictions, abuse of parents and abject
Sporting successes proudly displayed in a cabinet.
Each Monday Kerri visits for reading practise, she takes each boy a sweetened roll and after they had eaten them we settled to work.
There was time for a little fun.
A real smile.
One or two now chancing a sweet but very slowly.
Kerri and her family do much to support the home and we are thrilled she brought us here.
We each read with a few boys and tried not to have favourites. This chap refused to open his gift until he had completed four books with me. Then he wanted to kiss me in thanks, who am I to refuse. Huge lump in throat, yes, I could have taken him with me........ We donated, hopefully for new mattresses but completely trust the staff to know the needs of the home. We will always remember our time spent with the lovely lads who made us so welcome.
As we left we were given a Thank You card – now a cherished possession.
ALL IN ALL HUMBLING YET JOYFUL
SAD BUT THE BOYS ARE REALLY LOOKED AFTER AND CARED FOR