Bike Sri Lanka – 2nd Week – Arrived at the School!!!

Icebreaker                                                                                      R&R Sport SL blog

After a 113 km day fighting into the wind we made it to the Karaveddy Preschool! It was an interesting week of biking with muscle cramps, a tooth infection, a gigantic thunderstorm, a mixed religion festival, wild elephants and many interesting places and people. We are now based in Batticaloa about 15 km from the preschool and have been extremely well hosted by the Ocean Stars Team and their friends, as the Karaveddy Preschool roof comes to completion.


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2/1/14 (96km): Mirissa mark “G”, where we spent NY to Hambantota mark “H”, home town of the President and empty motorways. On this ride we picked, split and drank our own coconuts for the first time.
3/1/14 (44km): Hambantota to the pilgrimage town of Kataragama mark “I” where we witnessed a mixed religion festival where Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus & Christians all worship together. Had our first rain which was like 10 buckets of water being poured on us at the same time but constantly. Thankfully our waterproofing efforts held up and all electronics were safe.
4/1/14 (71km): Kataragama to Monaragala mark “J”, we biked through Yala National Park which we were told could be dangerous because of wild Leopards, Elephants  & Bears but saw none.
5/1/14 (76km): Monaragala to the surfing town of Arugam Bay mark “K”, we saw a small family of 3 wild elephants very close to us on our bikes. Massive scary thunder storm that night.
6/1/14 (rest day): Got up for sunrise then surfing and swimming and general beach dwelling.
7/1/14 (rest day): We intended to leave Arugam Bay this day but upon waking I had massive cramp so we decided to rest one more day as the next bike ride would be the biggest yet.
8/1/14 (113km): Arugam Bay to the city near the Karaveddy Prechool, Batticaloa mark “L”. Strong headwind & very hot, a hard day. Our pain was humbled by the Tsunami ruins on the roadside.
9/1/14 (school day): We visited Karaveddy Preschool for the first time by Tuk Tuk mark “M” to find the roof was nearly finished! We met the builders, some students & both teachers who hosted us for lunch. After returning from the school I had to see a dentist about a very painful toothache.
10/1/14 (school shopping day): Ranchan (OST Manager) hosted us for lunch, we then bought supplies for the school then went to Dianas (OST worker) for dinner, very delicious!
11/1/14 (46km): Picked up all the school supplies from around town and delivered to the school by Tuk Tuk, we then biked out to the school and witnessed giving the presents to the teachers.

Total distance biked including biking around towns: 838 km

 

The new roof on the school, the reason we came here, is very nearly finished! The new roof provides a much stronger shelter that will no longer be blown away in large storms (a reoccurring problem), with a higher pitch, more head space and high quality clay tiles it provides a much cooler and healthier environment for the children. And of course it no longer leaks. The school will have many more attendance days because of this.

With 50,000 LKR (about $500NZD, £240) of left over funds we managed to select and purchase a massive amount of school learning supplies for the school and a shiny new cabinet to put it all in. See photos and details below.

 

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Our cabana shack on the deserted Hambantota Beach, Soph contemplates a swim after tea. There are no buildings along this beach since the Tsunami smashed them away and the president declared that no one can build within 600m again. Somehow our host did rebuild here

 

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Biking through Yala National Park is not often done, reason being there are wild leopards, bears and elephants that have been know to fatally attack

 

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Yeah they got Milo! about 40c for these little gems that we got in Monaragala

 

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ELEPHANTS in the wild! We were so lucky to see a small heard of 3 from our bikes only about 100m away. Kind of scary and as we were just packing up to leave it furiously charged something in the bush, we pedalled so quick out of there!

 

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I managed to catch this little intimate moment with a mother and child

 

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Arugam Bay, a touristy surf resort town, was deserted in the low season. Soph snapped doing a yoga stretch!

 

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These cute little squirrel critters were all over our cabana and even ate part of my rotti!

 

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Sterilising the local water is a daily task. This little device uses UV light to kill harmful bacteria. It also means we don’t have to buy thousands of plastic bottles that would end up as waste

 

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Diana (left), Ranchan (OST Sri Lanka manager, centre), and Rathi (right) are the team in Batticaloa that hosted us while we were visiting the Karaveddy Preschool that all our donators have helped. They cooked us an amazing lunch, just one of the amazing meals we were hosted at while in Batticaloa

 

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Ranchan & Soph carefully deciding which exercise books would be best at the preschool

 

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Soph, Ranchan & Diana with some basic toys, learning tools and toothbrushes & paste

 

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Getting all the stuff there by Tuk Tuk with a new cabinet on the roof to keep it all in

 

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We arrived at the school to find the roof almost finished!

 

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The walls need to be reinforced to make sure they can take the load of the new tile roof. Check out this dudes hat!

 

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Putting the final tiles on the roof

 

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Soph and Thenmoli display the new cabinet full of preschool goodies!

 

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Soph and I with the two teachers of the Karaveddy Preschool, Kanakampikai (left) & Thenmoli (right). The 50 (approx) students are split in two groups; the younger ones (3-4) play games and the older ones (5-6) begin learning exercises.

 

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Soph with one of the Families that live near by, very proud people and happy with very few material things

 

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Soph, Ranchan (OSL manager), Brady (head carpenter) and myself under the nearly finished roof. The new roof will withstand damaging storms and the higher pitch and high quality tiles create a cooler and healthier interior for the students

 

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Some of the hard working and dedicated builders and masons headed up by head carpenter Brady (second from right)

 

The school is on schedule to be completely finished on Wednesday 15/1/14 and open for class on Thursday.

Thanks to all those who have donated!

To buy the goods for the school we withdrew £200 from the Charity bank account (under instruction from the director of Ocean Stars Trust and account auditor) and with the $80 NZD cash given by Lil Cooper we exchanged this for Sri Lankan Rupees at a Batticaloa bank (which does great rates). This gave us 50,640 LKR with which we bought 45,681.05 LKR worth of goods for the school. Ranchan’s connections gave us great discounts meaning we could get more for our Rupees! We have left 5000 LKR with Ocean Stars Trust to allocate to Karaveddy when they are next in need of anything.

If you would like to see receipts please click here: school supplies shop #1, school supplies shop #2, first aid, cups, cabinet, transport.

 

Total raised so far: $5418.89 NZD (£2,792.61, රු596,402.36 LKR)  (by exchange rates on 13/1/14)

There are many more projects like this in Sri Lanka that need our help. If you have not yet donated and would like to DONATE then please do so with our JustGiving site: https://www.justgiving.com/bikesrilanka,

or,  you can deposit donations into the follow charity account:

Bike Sri Lanka: 38-9015-0394533-00
Reference: Your name
Code: Your phone number
Account auditor: Vanessa Harwood, previous charity worker (+64 27 442 2041, nessharwood@gmail.com)

For more info on our expedition and fundraiser see our previous post below.

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