I couldn't resist the temptation of putting this picture as my greeting card for this season. It means a lot to me. I just came back form Sri Lanka, and the best Christmas present a Lion can do, is to help those in need. For me to visit for the second time, the Spanish village in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka, is my way of greeting you all. THE HAPPINESS ONE GETS FOR SERVING AND GIVING TO THOSE THAT NEED HELP, is a beautiful sensation I have received during my stay in Sri Lanka.
wish you all
MY TRIP TO SRI LANKA
Just after attending the ISAAME Forum in Hyderabad (India), I went to see the families of the village the Spanish Lions have built for the victims of the Tsunami. I went there two years ago, and I was so very emotionally effected, that I have promised myself to come back and try to quip on helping these families that I have meet. Two years ago I visited each one of these families, and I did buy some presents and sent some money to help them out. You must understand that all of them have lost everything in the Tsunami, and many have lost family also.
Another thing I realized when I was there, was that theses houses were built inland and far away from any village, and it was necessary to complete this village we had started. So talking to the Lions of Sri Lanka, we agreed that the minimum necessary, as to build a community center, some shops, public bathrooms and a play ground for children. So I asked the Spanish Lions to be once more generous and help finish what we had started, we succeeded and got the money. So the work was done. I also asked each one of the Clubs that had sponsored a house to give me a little money to buy them something locally.
I arrived on the 8 of December and next day went to the south, where I was received by the local Lions in a very nice act, where some children had organized and show, imitating me, very funny and good. Immediately after I went to see the houses, as I wanted to visit each one of the houses to see how was the family doing and what could be there needs. We have build 100 houses, so to visit them it toke me almost three days, none stop, from early in the morning to the night, without even having lunch, just some juice and a couple of bananas.
It was nice to see how some of the families have progressed very well, being able to buy furniture or motorcycles, and others where in the same situation. Sad! Some where even worst, like the one of the houses that was sponsored by my Club. Can you image a young lady went to the hospital to give birth to her third child, and when she comes home with the baby, she finds that her husband left her, steeling all the furniture (including the sewing machine I bought for her two years ago), and brook all the windows... How can someone be so cruel and bad? Anyway I paid for the electricity bill, bought her a new sewing machine and bought cloth, so she could make some money.
I had brought with me a lot Euros from the money given to me by the Clubs for the families, when I went to change the money I got a huge bag full, as the highest denomination, is 2.000 Rupees, which is about 12 Euros. I spent all that money buying sewing machines, paint for the houses (after 4 years it need it), cloth, a large TV set and musical set for the community center, plus 50 chairs and 3 tables, besides other less important items.
But the magic day was the last one, when I arrived at the Singha village with the Lions of Empilipitiya, all the village people where waiting for us to arrived, there was magic in their faces, with this beautiful smile these people have, if you add the moment of getting some presents, you have no idea the striking sensations you can receive. It was a delightful moment. A little later the DG Nimal from District 306 A2 arrived with the CC Ian, for the official inauguration. We cut the ribbon and gave a little speech.
After we went to inaugurate the Children’s play ground, what can I say about happy children....... I will leave it to your imagination; we also saw the new shops and then went back to the community Center to give out all their presents we had bought.
I must add that everything I have bought was with the agreement of the local Lions, we have basically bought necessary things to help them out in make a better future, in other words, we bought the "fishing rod", I never gave money or bought things that were not productive.
We gave out 27 sewing machines (We gave almost 40 before), 55 whole rolls of cloth, 136 barrels of paint (for inside and outside), distributed amongst the most needed people. I also left more money for get one more sewing machine, a wheelchair, scholarship for children, a little extra just in case there is a urgency. I divided the ladies in groups of 5 and giving them 5 to 9 rolls to be divided amongst themselves, so that way they could have more of a variety of cloths to make things. It was a beautiful moment of happiness for all of them.
Lo certainly would like to thank the Lions of Sri Lanka, especially those of the Lions Club of Empilipitiya, leader by my friend Priyantha and the president Amilabandu Wijebiri. Also the Governor Nimal, that also kindly invited me to be part of a leadership institute organized by his district, CC Ian for coming and also the team that has help me all these years PID Chuck, PCC Upali and PDG Rohantha, that without them nothing would have been done.
My friends, Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and with incredibly nice people, for me it has been an honor and a privilege to be able to serve my Association in this country, I can assure you that I will be back.
I told DG Nimal, that maybe I am a reincarnation of someone from Hambantota, he toke it so seriously that he told everyone that story....... You never know................. My heart is with the people of Singha Village (which means Lions Village).
I wish you all great year, and lets all feel what I have felt, as our good friend IPIP Al Brandel said, we do miracles....................... God knows it's true, I have seen it, I have felt it........ We are heroes...... I was a heroe.
|Sent on the 21/08/ 2010|