Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in TRIP Canada Program.

Great Progress – Lots of Fun! TRIP Canada in Sri Lanka

Posted in TRIP Canada Program on April 17, 2019

Partridge family at Canadapura.

Productivity at Jeevan’s.

Happiness for Adeesha.


Day 2 at Canadapura Children’s Village was parging day. We parged so much we started referring to ourselves as the Parging Family, especially when a golden oldie from the ‘70s came on from George’s playlist.  It was pretty satisfying, though, to see all four interior walls of the room virtually complete and ready for paint.  We made great progress on the exterior balcony walls as well.

Mary Jean and Coleen make good duo.

George contributes music and action.

Am handles the highs and lows well.

Kal, our Sri Lankan lead, is a great teacher.  He has been working with the volunteers since the first work team arrived in 2005 when he was 20 years old.  Today he is married with three children and takes great pride in the work he does.  He is a master mason who can correct and improve our earnest amateur efforts so that the finished wall is smooth and the line is perfect.

Susan can dance and parge all day long.

Kal is so good he can parge with a shovel!

We are on to a new adventure tomorrow. When the next team arrives they will get the chance to lay some bricks and build that interior wall. All for the kids.  And the Parging Family agrees that it’s a great feeling!


This morning we decided our team word for the day was “productivity”—and everyone did a great job illustrating the concept! At 8:30 a.m. we hit the ground running, implementing familiar tasks from yesterday like sifting sand, mixing concrete, and handing the masons bricks.  New activities included preparing heavy-duty concrete (using BIG stones), pouring concrete for a surrounding walkway, unloading bricks, preparing forms for corners, fitting windows and building a kitchen counter.

Today the Sri Lankan workers seemed more comfortable directing us and making their expectations known.   For example, regardless of what she was doing, Jennifer was hailed over to the sand pile to prepare and mix the cement.  She obviously impressed them with her skills yesterday! Similarly, today Beth was trusted to break bricks into smaller pieces and teased by mason Nemal if she didn’t do it fast enough.  And the workers definitely were entertained with Joshua’s singing abilities which he happily shared while helping with the kitchen counter.

Windows going in.

A new counter for Dilruski’s kitchen.

Jen, a concrete expert now.

Penny learns something new.

Some of us experienced interesting key learnings today: Penny was asked to paint wooden forms with motor oil and learned that the oil prevents poured concrete from sticking to the wood.  Ian learned that dry concrete mixed with sunscreen results in green legs (truly, Ian’s legs turned a delightful shade of Kermit-the frog green!!). Throughout it all, Bruce applied his expertise to everything and did an excellent job motivating the team!

We accomplished a lot today working alongside this grateful family. Jeevan and his wife Dilruski help us, grandad goes and cuts fresh coconuts at teatime and the children are a constant delight.

Thenuli brings chairs for tea.

All the kids love to be around.

Fresh coconuts for our break.

Joshua missing his own kids.


It was a perfect day for the team to hone their parging skills with another master mason on the site for coaching. Outside we used every available tool to break up the soil for the walkway – hoes, shovels, picks, lots of muscle. Then the lovely, graceful Jaynatha calming walked over and quickly finished the job scraping everything up with a dried coconut husk.

Jon learning from a master.

Crystal a natural at parging.

Don conquers the walkway.

And Jaynatha teaches us many things.

Every day we have tea and lunch at the site graciously served by the family and our driver Deepal. Not only does Deepal drive us to work and feed us, he makes sure we drink lots of water and shares lots of local knowledge. Julie was amazed to learn that cashews really are a fruit – not a nut – and they grow in trees.

Lunch break welcome and needed.

A lesson from the pro.

Gifts for all the children.

Adeesha gets some help.

Hilary and her monkeys.

The children make our days and they were so pleased with gifts from Julie. Later the site was a scene of hilarity when the children were teaching Hilary the Sinhalese works for different animals. After she got it, they all imitated the animal. Wandula (monkey) was definitely the best. A happy day for all!

Thanks to our contributors Mary Jean, Susan, Beth, Jennifer, Julie, Hilary, Janet

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