The D.R.O.P.S. team arrived in Sri Lanka – Colombo Airport on Friday 9 March 2018 to embark on a 5-day volunteering road trip across West Sri Lanka. This unique road trip included a multitude of small town and village schools and local support programs to provide basic medical and dental treatment; dental, hygiene, nutrition and exercise education, fun activities and exercises to enrich the educational teaching, and lastly donated clothes and toy giveaways to children from 3-to-18 years old.
The team was led by its founder; Dr. Michael and accompanied by a general doctor, a children’s dentist, a children’s teacher, and several volunteers to teach and keep the children entertained. The trip was a great success and could connect with and touch the lives of over 1,500 adults and children.
Day 1 Saturday 10 March 2018
Day 1 started off with a bang – hundreds of people from the town of Ehliyagoda and beyond gathered under the guidance of Father Anthon Parish to greet the D.R.O.P.S. volunteers – Shortly after a welcoming ceremony commenced to thank D.R.O.P.S. for it gracious donation to help the people of Ehliyahoda with basic dental, medical and eye care.
While the volunteers entertained the children with an educational program and face /hand painting activities, the medical doctor provided a basic health check-up to over 570 people, which included issuing 300 eyeglasses to adults and children. The emotions ran high as some received eyeglasses for the first time in their life – enriching their life almost instantaneously.
Later that afternoon the volunteers were on the bus off to the next destination – a girls orphanage an hours drive from Ehliyahoda. 5 bright young teenage girls appeared from the building with smiling faces. The rest of the afternoon was spent sharing a cup of tea with these young ladies and their caretakers from the church, painting nails and making bracelets.
‘Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful – Thich Nhat Hanh’
Day 2 Sunday 11 March 2018
Day two the team returned to the community center and church in Ehliyagoda, this time joined by our dental duo. The day commenced with setting up a medical and dental station and proceeded to provide basic health and dental care to 85 children also receiving a toothbrush and toothpaste. For the duration of the time, the ‘entertainment’ volunteers proceeded to occupy the children with the dental, hygiene, nutrition and exercise educational program, which was followed by fun activities and games such as T-shirt drawing competition ‘draw what we learnt’, ‘Simon Said’, coloring, face painting, and mini handbag donations for the girls to paint.
The afternoon took the traveling bus to another girl’s children’s orphanage – after a few hours drive along small windy roads a deserted building appeared nestled between dense plantations at the on top of a hill. Roaming through the corridors – we heard no sound when finally we approached a building on the edge of the compound where we found 40 girls silent in a classroom. They see us approaching, their faces gleaming with excitement.
The nun’s ushered the volunteers into the classroom where they proceeded with introductions and a short educational session – a mini medical station was set up to attend to some critical issues while the other volunteers handed out – bubbles, Barbie’s, bracelet-making sets, generously donated by the D.R.O.P.S. donors. The children further proceeded to draw fruits and vegetable on large posters in groups – displaying extraordinary skills.
Day 3 Monday 12 March 2018
After a good rest the volunteers were ready and in for a real treat on day 3 – first it was time for shopping – trolleys were stacked full of children hygiene products and toys – purchased on behalf of D.R.O.P.S. generous donations… which was followed by the annual visit to –
The Warehouse project in Maradana, Colombo – a project that works at a community level to make a difference – focusing on long term positive impact for people from all walks of Colombo.
A Monk who facilitated the day’s activities greeted the volunteers at the gate of what appeared to be old temple. Curious children and onlookers slowly strolled in to welcome the new faces. A medical and dental station was set up while the other team commenced with setting up age appropriate stations for over 75 children of ages between 6 – 17 years old.
The dentist proceeded with a fun and exiting dental educational session engaging every child – which was followed by hygiene, nutrition, and exercise education in parallel to medical and dental check-ups for over 75 children – ending the day with bright smile and giveaways including a toothbrush, toothpaste and toys.
Day 4 Tuesday 13 March 2018
After a fun-filled journey on day 3 – the team arrived in Chilaw with a full day ahead on day 4 – visiting an underprivileged school followed by a remote village in the middle of no-where…
Sandy roads finally brought the bus to the school – as the team arrived the children in their dusty white school uniform appeared while swiftly being shepherd into two welcoming rows of boys and girls. The team commenced with a ‘divide and concur’ attitude to ensure as many children can be seen by the doctor and dentist teams. While the stations were being set up the dentist proceeded by giving her delightful and captivating educational session. Within two hours all 70 children received dental and medical care and went home with a Barbie for girls, a Racquet set for boys and a toothbrush and toothpaste, and cricket bats and balls for the school.
Waving children with smiling faces surrounds the yellow bus, as the team gets ready to depart off to the next destination.
The village is tucked away in the middle of the Tossogama plantations. The bus comes to a halt and can go no more – the team has to go on foot from there. A wonderful walk through the plantation takes the team to a small self-sustaining village, which is long supported by the Dimuthu Foundation, and a familiar stop for the D.R.O.P.S. teams. The village encompasses a narrow road for a bout 1km accompanied with an array of clay houses on each side. Onlookers follow the team as they move towards the village main building at the end of the road.
Over 100 children of all ages received a medical and dental check up along with a toothbrush, toothpaste and toys for the children.
Day 5 Wednesday 14 March 2018
The last day Father Jude from the Dimuthu Foundation arranged the final group which all gathering at large church. Children of all ages and their parents wave as the big bus arrived. A warm welcome is received and father Jude start the proceedings with a small speech with Dr. Michael following to conduct the dental, hygiene, nutrition and exercise education and thank you message to the volunteers and Father Jude.
Over 80 children received a medical check up, face paint and goody bag filled with toys.
Big thanks go out to all the volunteers, Father Anthon and Father Jude, The Warehouse Project, other support volunteers in Sri Lanka and all donations and partners who made this mission possible and a great success.
D.R.O.P.S. – ‘For A Better Tomorrow’