Monday, 4 April 2016

Post card from Sigiriya

The final weekend has actually been a longish weekend, because it wasn't organised by me, but rather the company I am volunteering for. It just so happened that this weekend has been a National Youth Camp in Sigiriya (the first one for 30 years), and we were invited along as international guests. The camp was for 5000 youths, so I can't say I'll have that opportunity again!

On Wednesday, we spent the whole day travelling from Colombo to Sigirya, and arrived to the opening ceremony of the youth camp. It did remind me a little bit of the hunger games because each town here was set up in it's own district. They'd all designed amazing art work for their camp site too, which was so cool to see. Our tent was the luxury area, but it was still a baking hot tent with a matt for the week. The showers were communal and we did have festival toilets (unlike the rest of the youths who had squat toilets), so it was a very basic weekend.

However, it was a brilliant weekend! On Thursday, we took part in some community activities - restoring schools and hospitals. And then in the afternoon, we visited Dambulla cave temples. This was probably my favourite temple yet because once we reached the top, the sky was truly magnificent. I've never seen a more beautiful sky in my life.

On Friday, we were able to climb Sigiriya rock which was another hot and sweaty hike! At the top of the rock is what resembles an ancient kingdom, with space for a mansion, swimming pool and garden. Still to this day, Sri Lankan's are unable to fully explain how this was built or got there. Then, in the afternoon, we all went back to the camp and took part in a tug of war competition, which was the most fun I've had in ages. My team lost but I've not laughed so much in ages!

Then, Saturday was a day for just wandering around the camp and the closing ceremony in the afternoon. Both the Prime Minister and the President of Sri Lanka were there, and it was a really huge event. It was so nice to see how much effort the Sri Lankan government put into helping the youths of the country.

And finally, Sunday we returned back to our home stays for the final week of work. I will reflect more about this experience when I'm home, so that really does conclude the final post card from Sri Lanka!

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