Cristina Medina is our first Spanish volunteer. She volunteered at Horizon Lanka in February, 2017. Read Cristina’s story below.
“This project is located in Mahawilachchiya, a privileged place away from the noise of the city so you can breathe a lot of peace that together with the hospitality of the local people make it a special place.
I was surprised by the work that Horizon Lanka is doing in this village, given the opportunity for children to learn English, information and communication technology and important life skills. But also it is a place to share and have fun together staff, children and volunteer in a great atmosphere.
I’m very happy to be part of this project and to be able to teach English and dance classes in my short time here.
They get you involved in the daily life of the village and show you place around. I went to bathe in nearby lake and visit a temple (Tantirimale Rock Temple) where the locals go on Sundays to pray, was very interesting.
The best thing of all was to live with Tharani’s family, a smart and charming girl of 14 years old with whom I shared many good moments and laughter. The family made me feels like at home and thanks to them I learnt about culture and customs of Sri Lanka because they are happy to share their daily life with me and make me part of the family.
I came to Horizon Lanka alone and here I found a family.”
I am very excited to be here as the 63rd volunteer at Horizon Lanka. Volunteering in Sri Lanka has always been a goal of mine since it’s my neighbor country and I have been longing for many years to travel to Sri Lanka. Even though I have traveled to many countries for work or sightseeing purposes, this is my first trip to Sri Lanka. Volunteering in Sri Lanka fills me with a sense of purpose and I will do everything I can for the Sri Lankan people.
Volunteering in Sri Lanka so far has been a wonderful experience and I am hoping to continue my volunteer work here in Horizon Lanka beyond my original plan of one month for a longer term. It’s an honor to meet Nanda Wanninayaka, the founder and CEO of Horizon Lanka. He is a friendly and easy going person that gives all volunteers many opportunities to teach English to the students, ages ranging from 7-16 years of age. The students are more eager to learn English and computers from the volunteers who come from around the world to teach them. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students to meet different nationalities and practice communicating in English.
I teach English and Tamil in Gamini Vidyalaya public school mornings from Monday to Friday. In the afternoon I teach English to the students in Horizon. On Saturday and half of Sunday I also teach. I have a great time with the Gamini School students because they are very eager to learn English and Tamil from me. I see that the Gamini School students show great respect to the teacher by kneeling down at the feet of the teachers, worshipping the teachers like they worship god or the Buddha. This is respect to the teachers is shown by students all over Sri Lanka. (In Sri Lanka, teachers are treated just next to gods.) This was a new experience for me and to see their humbleness and respect to the teachers made me feel good.
It’s nice for me to spend time with lots of volunteers from all over the world and share valuable experiences with them here. It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with Wasantha, a consultant for Horizon Lanka. When I first arrived, I stayed with Nanda for a while until I got a homestay with a host family. I stayed with them for many days and then moved back into Nanda’s house. I hope to get another host family soon.
In my opinion this is a worthwhile experience and anyone who is longing to teach English to students in any part of Asia is most welcome in Sri Lanka. Volunteering here is an unforgettable experience that greatly benefits the students’ knowledge of English as well their intercultural awareness. While I am here in Horizon Lanka, have visited some of the fascinating places nearby with the other volunteers and had great fun. I met a lot of great people like Nagy from Egypt, Costi from Italy, Cristina from Spain, Lea from Switzerland and Irina from Russia. We hope to meet more volunteers in the coming days, too. Volunteering in Sri Lanka feels really good and the energy of the students gives me energy to continue to teach English. I don’t ever get tired of teaching them and at the end of the day I go to sleep thinking about the activities and lessons I want to impart tomorrow. These are just some of the reasons I have chosen to travel to Sri Lanka as my volunteer destination and I hope you too choose Sri Lanka as your volunteering destination.
So, this was my awesome and wonderful experience by volunteering in Sri Lanka. I hope you too can enjoy this privilege one day.
I experienced riding a motorcycle in Sri Lanka for the first time yesterday. Even though I have ridden all kinds of two wheelers and four wheelers in India for two decades, the ride from Mahawilachchiya to Tantirimale Temple was truly special. I rode solo as I followed Rajitha with Cristina behind him. When we started our travel, we had to endure a difficult and rough mud road until we reached the good service road that brought us to comfortably to Tantimale. On the way, we stopped and Rajitha went to a pond to collect some flowers.
As I rode, I could see a lot of kids dressed in white going towards Tantirimale Temple to attend the Dhamma School on Sunday. After reaching Tantirimale we entered the temple and offered the flowers Rajitha had gathered earlier. We then went around a pond by the temple and began to climb a rock. As we were climbing we saw a beautiful peacock fly by that both surprised and amazed us.
High up the rock, we spent time taking photographs and chatting before descending the mountain to see the Sanghamitta Cave near the Tantirimale Temple. We saw the ancient paintings in another cave and learned about its history. From there, we hiked around the temple’s property. It was a really wonderful experience and an unforgettable memory for me. As we were leaving, we could see many Buddhist students in their white dress with their teachers. Students regularly come on chartered trips arranged by local schools. We were able to see some of the Buddhist monks with pilgrims walking around the temple. We saw the famous reclining Buddha statue along with other magnificent statues here.
After the temple, we took our bikes and started our ride back towards Mahawilachchiya on route to the Mahawilachchiya reservoir where we spent time taking pictures and learning about the importance of the reservoir. We then ate our lunch prepared by Horizon student Tharani’s mother. It consisted of coconut rice (local Sri Lankan food) and some bananas. Although fairly simple, it was quite tasty and filling. Sharing our lunch was a memorable moment between an Indian guy Prince Leonard, Sri Lankan guy Rajitha and a Spanish girl Cristiana.
After spending time at the Mahawilachchiya reservoir, we decided to head home to our destination Nanda’s house, who is the founder and CEO of Horizon Lanka.
I am so happy to volunteer here at Horizon Lanka teaching English to the students. I already experienced teaching English in Gamini School, one of the public schools in Mahawilachchiya. The students enjoyed my teaching and were fascinated to learn from me. Nanda has been so accommodating to my ideas for classes and will allow me to teach Tamil classes in the near future. It’s indeed a pleasure to be here at Horizon Lanka in Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. My trip to Tantirimale was enjoyable and my experience so far at Horizon Lanka has been incredible.
If you would like to have this one of a kind experience at Horizon Lanka, you are most welcome to volunteer here and take part in a good cause. Also, please share this story with friends all over the world in your social networks.
Sohan Fernando is a talented young graphic and web designer from Negombo. He was a Horizon Lanka well-wisher in the past. He has been helping our founder, Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka, in his web designing assignments.
Sohan came to Horizon Lanka Academy, yesterday, and conducted a workshop on graphic design with Adobe Photoshop. He covered design theories under following subtopics.
1. Color theories
3. Composition alignments
4. Concept designing
5. Style versus trends
The workshop was conducted over two days and it was extremely valuable for us. Previously, we had learnt the basics of Photoshop at Horizon Lanka. It did help us to understand the more complex lessons presented by Sohan. We hope he will return when he has more time on his hands to teach us more lessons in graphic and web designing in the future.
Most of the boys at Horizon Lanka prefer to learn programing and coding. But the majority of the girls prefer designing graphics and web sites. Girls prefer to pursue a professional career in graphic, web, audio and video editing. This does not, necessarily, mean that only the boys will become programmers and the girls will become designers. There will always be a mix of both between the genders.
I am good at video editing too and also won a 4G phone this month for becoming the best video editor and presenter at a competition held last year.
Sohan’s teaching is very effective. His workshops are lively. We like his professionalism and precision in teaching. He comes well-prepared for the lessons with the right content.
We performed a few dance items during breaks to add fun to the workshops. We need those computer professionals who read this story to contact us and conduct more workshops for us to acquire more knowledge. We cannot afford to pay for expensive computer courses in the city. So learning at Horizon Lanka Academy is the most practical way.
Even in the past Horizon Lanka students learnt a lot through similar workshops. Two of our past students, Nuwan Sampath Dissanayaka and Majith Rakshitha Perera have become professional graphic designers and they have started their own graphic designing and printing enterprises, now, at Anuradhapura city.
We are staff, students and family of Horizon Lanka in Mahawilachhiya. Costy from Italy stayed in our living and learning center for few weeks. She is the 61st volunteer in our horizon school, which dedicated her space, time and energy to improve ENGLISH and KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT (I.T.) in the community of Mahawilachchiya.
We found Costy through the work away website, which created for us by another volunteer Angi from ZIMBABWE. You can also come and experience and have a good time by volunteering in SriLanka.
Costy is the first Italian volunteer appeared in this remote village. We had very good time with her. She is easy going, fun loving and inspiring character. Our kids love to have many selfi with her in every where she goes.
Within very first moment she went to any family in this Sinhala Buddhist village, she became the center of the attraction. She became an adapted daughter of few families, including the family; just she stayed one night in her very first day in this community.
Being a talented scholar of the SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY she also explored unknown areas of this TRIBE. We together visited village shaman, funeral and post death rituals, Tree and Ancestral worship rituals and co-existancy of Buddhist, Hindu and Aboriginal vedha rituals .It was a great learning experience for her as well as us, to reflect our understanding of the humanity as whole.
Different cultures but same goal
We create our tiny GLOBAL FAMILY in Nanda’s ancestral home, who is an ex- school master turned in to the DIGITAL AMBASSADOR OF SRILANKA.(a ashoka fellowship awarder).Nagy from Egypt a software engineer who is genius in Web Master for NEW HORIZON, Sisira a Mathematics teacher who edify us about freely grown cannabis sativa in the area. Prince Leonard from India, who is an Interpreter by his profession and a well versed ENGLISH TEACHER.
Nagy has unlimited supply of strong tobacco which locally sold as beedi. We had many social interaction near our fire place, which again a creation of Angi our Zambian volunteer in previous Christmas.
Very romantic IMAGE of the Costy is playing a guitar under the shady garden with moon light ,while drinking tea and smoking.
Costi became the Good will ambassador to Radhika’ s family and saliyamala government school, where both Radhika and Costi taught ENGLISH. Radhika was among the first five students when Nanda setup Horizon School 18 years back .She was one of the best students in Horizon Lanka ever had,. Now she is graduated and Government appointed ENGLISH TEACHER in this community. Costi learn how to wear a saree from her, women teachers official dress in Srilanka. Costi, Nagy and Prince had a great moment with Radhika’s family, while they were making Pizza.
Gunapala, village shaman narrated stories in poems about native wisdom of the COSMOLGY. he also happened to be the father of Sisira ,a government mathematics teacher. Costi used to visit the family and experience head massage with herbal oil to get away from headache. It was pretty cool to see that 84 years old village shaman is doing a healing to student of social anthropology from so-called developed world.
Tharaka Kahaduwa a srilankan boy who study in China was traveling with costy and me. We had hitch up journey to Thanthiimale rock temple, one of the coolest place in Tropical Srilanka. A great treasure for Tribal Arts, which as old as rocks and caves. We enjoyed tropical Srilankan food in lotus leaves, which is hot and spicy in GAMI GEDARA, a local restaurant in Oya-Maduwa town.
The difference between hosting family and Mahawlichchiya’s family
Prabodha a student of HORIZON SCHOOL hosted Costy. Her family adopted Costy as their daughter. But costy is naughty, who always run away from her original home and spending much time in our global family guest house. Prabodha painted on 13th February, one day before Valentine’s day. Her mother try to consult black magician, other than taking her to the nearest hospital. Costy and Nagy with great efforts brought her to the Hospital.
COSTY is a part of our dancing girls. Pramodaya,Tharani were teaching her popular Hindi dance. Nimandhitha, Prabodha, Sandhuni and Dilushika end up being learning steps from Costi and they all together create a fusion and rytham.
Life in Horizon Lanka for volunteers
Our new student six years old girl want to make her playmate with Costy. She and her mother Ssandhya invited our global family to her home and fed several occasions with chicken and rotty (local bread). Sandhya’s parents who lived near to them always happy to see their white daughter.
We were enjoying many Ahhaaa moments while Costy was telling us about trance dance in Italy, Magical mushrooms in Hills, Coffee making machines, white wine and dinning. Being a great lover of music and painting she expanded our Horizan in a great depth and length. Whenever she had presence there were many street dogs, puppies and cats were gathered in our place too.
If you would like to have this kind of experience and exploring SriLanka you may reach us at Horizon Lanka.