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Published: December 17th 2005
There has been some concern from New Zealand that Murray and I are doing no work! 😊 Let me enlighten you.
I haven’t got round to hiring a house help, which means the house work is not getting done as often as it should be. Hand watering the plants, sweeping & mopping the floor, washing the clothes, ironing, dishes, boiling water for the filter, Supermarket shopping, fruit & vegetable market shopping, cleaning 3 bathrooms & bedrooms, etc etc blah blah (you asked!). Paying bills is done at the bank, which is always interesting as the forms are in Persian script, and I still haven’t worked out which is the back of the “line that never ends”. Normally the man with the shot gun helps me out, a pretty good friend to have really.
It is hot here and everything takes time to do. After chores 😊 which should get done daily (not always), I visit friends of ours around the fort, and sometimes go to the gym.
I am in the process of getting involved in a voluntary capacity with children. I have observed a few Tsunami camp sites, where a childrens space has been set up. The
Miriam's Soccer Team
Miriam the Women's Soccer Team Manager
kids love to touch my skin, to see if it feels different, and after spending 30 minutes with this group of children, 4 kids holding each arm, one had enough courage to smell me! Never had that before!
So far I have taught a few English lessons, been the special guest at many a talent quest, played volleyball, soccer, badminton and cricket. At the moment they are looking into me teaching swimming in a pool on the beach. Also running adventure camps is something they want me to get involved in.
The locals can speak pretty good English, there are 2 exceptions however. Some drivers (like our Adjet) can’t speak very well, so I have tried to learn some words. Like “left” (wama) and “right” (dakuna). “Stop” and “straight ahead” are harder, which is unfortunate because our house is always straight ahead! Some children I work with are limited to “Hello, how are you? What is your name?” so after they have said that a few times, I try out my very limited Sinhala, which they love. Languages are not my strong point, so it normally is me saying “Greetings, my name is Miriam”, and then counting to
10 (ok, I can only count to 8) or rattling off “How are you?”, “Mother”, “Husband” (a new addition to my vocab). Knowing the question isn’t always a help, you need to understand the answer aswell. Which I found out when I asked someone how they were, and then looked puzzled at them when all they said was “I am Good”.
I also know “epa” which is “I don’t want”, which comes in handy if you are getting hassled. I probably need to learn to say “Stop staring at me!”, but I think I’m too polite to use it. I do need to learn to say “No thank you. Please go away” to the fruit salesman that comes to my door everyday. Or “Leave me alone” to the drug addict who keeps asking me to buy him milk powder for his non-existent daughter.
So in the weekends, we usually go to the beach with some American friends. Murray takes their boys snorkeling or boogie boarding, and I take their little girl swimming and make sandcastles. We have been trying out the local transport, the trains and the buses that slow down enough for you to run and jump
Miriam, Sam and Jamie after our day at the beach.
I actually stood up on the surf board, but got such a shock that I fell over :)
When we started here in Galle, we seemed to be assigned the same driver. The car had no suspension, which wasn’t great along the dirt track to our hotel. But we really took a liking to the driver, Ajet. He can’t speak very good English, but he has been trying to learn some more English and we Sinhala, to communicate with each other. He really wanted us to meet his wife and daughter, and last weekend he invited us to his home for morning tea. “Sir Miss my house, wife, daughter, tea”, we got the point. After 6 km inland, the 3 wheeler was needing a bit of 4 wheel drive action up this hill. We then walked up this steep track to his house, with a cluster of houses around it. We had a great time, and learnt some really interesting things about our innocent little driver 😉
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