37. Honza Jan Kučera – The Czech Republic

37. Honza Jan Kučera – The Czech Republic

Honza-Jan-Kučera0

Honza Jan Kučera volunteered at Horizon Lanka during the months of March and April, 2015.

I remember first thing which came to my mind when Kristyna asked me if I want to go to Sri Lanka as a volunteer and I said yes, I pictured houses in the middle of the jungle or some kind of savannah which I’ve seen in some TV program about Africa. It was funny cause I knew it may be different but I wanted to picture it in some kind of romantic way. I was wondering, how is life over there and how are the people and now I can say that even though I had some ideas the things which I have seen and experienced in real life for that 2 months in Mahawilachchiya were life-changing for me. First encounter with the kids and people living in the village were already filled with smiles and that was one of the things which left major impact on me.

Teaching in Horizon Lanka combined with teaching in Saliymala Public School was perfect. As Pedagogy graduate I had the chance to experience teaching in a public school for the first time for a longer period than just university training  and expand the English classes with the same students, who were going for the extra classes to the Horizon Lanka was really good. It was a great balance with a classic school teaching and modern “game and fun” approach to the English from both of us with Kristyna. Loads of trips to the different places around the village and our favorite “going to swim” trips with kids, dancing around the HL building and never-ending laugh that was Horizon Lanka for me. I had the chance to compare Czech and Sri Lankan children approach and behavior in school which was astonishing. Their respect for the teachers and for learning itself is really amazing. Another great thing which I think I was blessed with there was the help from my amazing colleagues at school and people from the village in general and of course the founder of Horizon Lanka Nanda Wanninayaka who helped us, guided us and also listened to us throughout the whole stay.

Huge impact on our stay and on our lives was the fact that we were staying in the family of a Horizon Lanka student. I personally think that this is the greatest asset of becoming volunteer in Horizon Lanka and I don’t mean just for me but for everybody involved. I can’t even list every story or thing which happened during those two months because there was so many of them and I am gratefully happy that I could’ve become a part of Sri Lankan family and that they showed me completely different life which I would not be able to experience otherwise. Their love and laugh are the things which I will never forget and I hope they will never forget me because I feel that we found some special bond. As I was saying this was not benefit just for me but also for the whole family and especially the kids. Their English got so much better because they just had to speak with me and Kristyna which is the best way how to learn it quick and good.

Life in Mahawilachchiya showed me how important is to smile to people you are meeting every day or just once a month, it showed me what things are really worth living for and what things are not. I made amazing number of new friends which I will never forget and will visit in the future for sure as I will also come back to Horizon Lanka.  Sri Lanka in general was just something which left us speechless and amazed several times during our traveling, which we planned for our last two weeks there. We encounter situations and people which we never would have hoped for. Once again it showed us what is the most amazing in Sri Lanka and that’s its people. People who will always help you and will do the extra step to make you feel like you belong there especially when you show them that you can speak Sinhala and your answer to the question: “where are you from?” is no more Czech Republic but Mahawilachchiya and that’s exactly how we felt – like we belong there.

The most important thing which this amazing experience in Horizon Lanka and Sri Lanka gave and taught me is that I know this is exactly what I want to do in my future life. It showed me that I love teaching, I love English and I love working with bright, happy and hardworking kids. This combined is what I think I can do all my life in different forms and countries. This is what I am most grateful to Horizon Lanka, Kristyna, Radhika, Nanda, my Sri Lankan family and everybody who I met throughout these two amazing and life-changing months.

Thank You.

“I’ll be back!” – Honza.

With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
At Horizon Lanka
At Horizon Lanka
at Saliyamala Public School
at Saliyamala Public School
at Saliyamala Public School
at Saliyamala Public School
Playing cricket
Playing cricket
Resting after sports
Resting after sports
Cycling
Cycling
With Kristyna
With Kristyna
With Ben and Kristyna
With Ben and Kristyna

Please Help Us to Reconnect Dialog TV Satellite TV Connection at Horizon Lanka Foundation

Please Help Us to Reconnect Dialog TV Satellite TV Connection at Horizon Lanka Foundation

Dialog TV Logo

Horizon Lanka Foundation had purchased a Dialog TV satellite TV connection in 2005. But this had to be disconnected in November, 2010 due to financial constraints. We have an arrears of 4266.07 LKR and have to pay a re-connection fee of 1000 LKR for Dialog TV. The total amount to be paid is 5266.07 LKR (36.05 USD.) It would be great if you can donate this amount to Horizon Lanka Foundation.

The Satellite TV connection was productively used at Horizon Lanka in the past. The junior students could watch cartoons and other educational programs under the supervision of our staff who explained the content and assigned tasks for the children and monitored their responses to the assigned tasks. Middle school children could watch news, subtitled English movies, educational and edutainment programs, sports channels, etc. with the supervision of the staff. Youth and adults specially used the satellite TV for local TV channels, sports, entertainment and religious channels.

To see more details about the Dialog TV connection, visit http://www.dialog.lk/dlg/browse/productDetails.jsp?navAction=jump&navCount=0&categoryId=onlinecat3440069&productId=onlineprod4550056. You can see the number of channels we can and the names of the channels. This package “Pearl” offers 71 channels including news, sports, educational, edutainment, music, entertainment, kids and movies, etc. We can use these channels for educational purposes. This will also help our foreign volunteers who work hard for the success of Horizon Lanka Foundation to break their monotony as well.

We prefer to use a Dialog TV connection because they offer a good service with a cheaper price. Besides, Dialog Axiata have helped us several times by,

  1. Installing an antenna on the roof of Horizon Lanka to provide mobile access to 50-meter radius around Horizon Lanka computer lab in 2001 at a time even bigger towns had not got the Dialog mobile access.
  2. Providing 2G mobile access to Right Bank of Mahawilachchiya through LankaBell tower in Pemaduwa Mahawilachchiya on Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka’s (Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation) request since the night of December 18, 2006.
  3. Expanding 2G coverage by installing equipment in the Dialog high-tension tower in Kiralpetiyawa, Mahawilachchiya enabling Left Bank of the village with 2G access for even in chena (slash and burn cultivation) farms in the jungles in 2008.
  4. Upgrading the coverage to 3G on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request from the LankaBell tower in Pemaduwa Mahawilachchiya.
  5. Expanding the coverage to 3G on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request from the Dialog high-tension tower in Kiralpetiyawa, Mahawilachchiya in 2009.
  6. Planning to provide 4G Home Broadband facility to Mahawilachchiya at a concessionary price.

So, we are comfortable with Dialog Axiata as our communication service provider. We have all our staff members mobile phone connections and our office fixed line CDMA phone from Dialog. Our relationships with Dialog is very strong and they have never disappointed us.

Monthly Rental for “Pearl Package” 699.00 LKR (4.78 USD.) and taxes. We will pay the monthly bill.

main4-packages

tv-connection-details

36. Kristýna Blažková – The Czech Republic

36. Kristýna Blažková – The Czech Republic

Kristýna-Blažková

Kristýna Blažková from the Czech Republic volunteered at Horizon Lanka during the months of March and April, 2016. She was a very good dancer, singer and a volleyball player. She was also featured in ITN TV in Sri Lanka. Read her story below.

“My decision to go to Sri Lanka came out of the clear blue sky. One late autumn afternoon, when I was sitting at work, I decided I want to go help somewhere in the world to help people as a volunteer. My dream continent was Asia, I opened map and I pinned my finger randomly at Sri Lanka. After that it was all pretty fast that I even didn’t think it will.

Article from the Czech volunteer Klara Gebhartova who visited Horizon Lanka before was first which grab my attention. Throughout planning I invited my longtime friend Honza who was thinking about volunteering in Asia for some time.

And that was it. We took off at the end of February and went straight for a new adventure. Having no idea what is waiting for us there.

Even the first breath of Sri Lanka had an amazing impact on us and we knew that we are going to like it very much. Different smells, glowing smiles and hot night (full of mosquitos) welcomed us right after our landing. We were literally stunned, as we were in completely different world. Long and tiring journey by bus was the only thing which was separated us from village called Mahawilachchiya which was our destination.

As soon as we came there we were warmly welcomed by our future students from Horizon Lanka and Nanda who is the founder of this amazing non-profit organization. We get to know by each other by playing simple games and we were hosted by one of the Horizon Lanka students’ family.

In this very family, our 2nd own family as we call them now, we became the happiest people in Sri Lanka. It was the best way how to get into their hearts and also into every day of Sri Lankans. We had the chance to get familiar with their traditional food which was made for us with the family love, their customs, everyday troubles and happy moments. We became ones of them. I’ll never forget the moments we were going to have baths in the canals which were providing water for the rice fields, where we had so much fun every day. The moments when their eyes were shining with happiness when they saw me dressed in their traditional bath robe called “cheeththa”. When we were washing our hair by the sunset and we were telling various stories.

With great love I remember the mornings when we were sitting under the tall palms in complete silence in front our house just enjoying black tea with milk and we couldn’t wait till the next day.

Our everyday program was teaching English in my case in local school. And in the afternoon again extra classes of English, ICT and in my case dance classes. Sometimes we just went to play cricket, American football or volleyball. When it was too hot outside we didn’t hesitate and took our bikes and went straight to have a bath.

The time I spent at local school and also at Horizon Lanka was very beneficial for me. I enjoyed every single moment till my last. While I am studying pedagogical university which I hope I’ll finish next year this was also a valuable lesson about I decided to write a diploma thesis and to compare educational systems in our country and in Sri Lanka.

This is one of my diary records:

“My deardiary.

Today is my last day of school. No no! I’m not going there like a pupil. Don’t misunderstand! But like a teacher. It will be already 2 months which the most beautiful faces and smiles have been welcoming me around 8.00 am every morning. I was writing about it many times you know that. I’ll go to our staff room and during that I will chat with everybody on my way. I’m gonna be boiling in my pink sari cause outside is around 35° Celsius again. But I know teachers and students will appreciate it and shout on me!

“Lasenaj!” (It means beautiful in Sinhala.)

I’m looking forward to our dancing room too. We’ll have so much fun there. On lunch break I will drink a hot cup of tea and eat something really spicy and I’m gonna be sweating and crying all the time. But it belongs to that. (You have to handle it.)

“Kristyna teacher!” Like always, grade 8 is shouting. There are so many students in class.

“Kristyna teacher, come! Selfie, game! Hi. Bye. Ene!”

Then, they will offer me really sour fruit. I’ll waste it inconspicuously. I hope that they won’t see that.

“Kristyna teacher! Dance please!”

Okey! Herewe go!! J

You know I’ll miss them. Also the baby. She is crying after she saw me. It’ s pathetic. I’m done.

I’m crying. “Bye!”

I think this note speaks for itself, that uncountable moments starting with smiles full of love from the villagers up until the innocent and grateful looks from our little students. Until today I remember with tears in my eyes. I’d like to see them again.

This story of my life had a major impact on me and I am convinced that this was not last time I visited Sri Lanka.

By this I would like to thank to the people who were part of this great journey. On the first place to Honza who lived this amazing journey with me and was all the time by my side, amazing Nanda who made this possible and who let us live through something amazing, our loving family, teachers and of course to amazing kids.

I still have thousands and thousands of memories that I could write a book about the all things we experienced in Sri Lanka.”

Just after the arrival to Horizon Lanka
Just after the arrival to Horizon Lanka
At Horizon Lanka
At Horizon Lanka
At Horizon Lanka
At Horizon Lanka
Dance practice at Horizon Lanka
Dance practice at Horizon Lanka
Playing keyboard at Horizon Lanka
Playing keyboard at Horizon Lanka
Enjoying music with Ben
Enjoying music with Ben
With her ukulele
With her ukulele
At Horizon Lanka
At Horizon Lanka
With the students in Thakshila School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Thakshila School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Thakshila School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Thakshila School, Mahawilachchiya
With the teachers in Thakshila School, Mahawilachchiya
With the teachers in Thakshila School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Gamini School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Gamini School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Gamini School, Mahawilachchiya
With the students in Gamini School, Mahawilachchiya
In the reservoir sluice gate
In the reservoir sluice gate
Bowling in cricket
Bowling in cricket
Playing soccer
Playing soccer
Playing soccer
Playing soccer
American football
American football
After sports
After sports
In a Sri Lankan sari
In a Sri Lankan sari
In a Sri Lankan sari
In a Sri Lankan sari
In a Sri Lankan sari
In a Sri Lankan sari
With Honza
With Honza
With Ben
With Ben
With Honza and Ben
With Honza and Ben

Please Help Us Get a Dialog CDMA Land Line Telephone

Dialog Axiata Logo

Dialog LogoMr. Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation has been using his personal Dialog mobile phone for all Horizon Lanka related communication since 2001. This becomes a big problem as he has to answer the phone even for the least important matters. So, it would be great if we can install a Dialog CDMA land phone for the common official usage. It would ease newly recruited young girl Anupama Sandamali’s job as the administrator/ICT teacher of Horizon Lanka and it would enable her and other students to learn telephone etiquette as well.

A Dialog CDMA land phone is ideal for this requirement. We prefer to use a Dialog land phone because they have the best coverage and the cheapest prices. Besides they have helped us several times by,

  1. Installing an antenna on the roof of Horizon Lanka to provide mobile access to 50-meter radius around Horizon Lanka computer lab in 2001 at a time even bigger towns had not got the Dialog mobile access.
  2. Providing 2G mobile access to Right Bank of Mahawilachchiya through LankaBell tower in Pemaduwa Mahawilachchiya on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request since the night of December 18, 2006.
  3. Expanding 2G coverage by installing equipment in the Dialog high-tension tower in Kiralpetiyawa, Mahawilachchiya enabling Left Bank of the village with 2G access for even in chena (slash and burn cultivation) farms in the jungles in 2008.
  4. Upgrading the coverage to 3G on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request from the LankaBell tower in Pemaduwa Mahawilachchiya.
  5. Expanding the coverage to 3G on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request from the Dialog high-tension tower in Kiralpetiyawa, Mahawilachchiya in 2009.
  6. Planning to provide 4G Home Broadband facility to Mahawilachchiya at a concessionary price.

So, we are comfortable with Dialog Axiata as our communication service provider. We also hope to get Dialog satellite TV facilities in the near future.

To buy a Dialog CDMA land phone we need 2900 LKR (13.69 USD.) This is a post paid per minute package. And the prices are cheaper.

Monthly Rental 300.00 LKR (2.05 USD)

To Dialog Fixed Line 1.50 LKR (0.010 USD)

Any Other Local Network 2.00 LKR (0.013 USD)

Free to Any Network per month 250.00 LKR (1.71USD)

Highlights

Package available for 2,990.00 LKR (inclusive with Tax)

P.S. After reading this article, a gentleman in Australia donated the money to buy the CDMA Phone.

dialog CDMA phone unit
dialog CDMA phone unit

Meeting My Long Lost younger sister, Klára Gebhartová

Klara Gebhartova with the students of Horizon Lanka

Klara Gebhartova with the students of Horizon Lanka

I have three older sisters, but do not have a younger sister. I always wished, how wonderful it would have been if I ever had one. But when Miss Klára Gebhartová from the Czech Republic came to stay at my home to teach at Horizon Lanka last August, I had a strange feeling that I was meeting my long lost younger sister.

Klara was a final year medical student at prestigious Charles University in Prague. She came to us at a time we were struggling as an organization, both financially and academically. But she changed that negative atmosphere prevailing at the time, into a positive one by working earnestly both with the children and the staff. She won the hearts of the children and the parents, by having a natural smile at all times. She did not confine her teaching to the classrooms alone, but taught the children while walking around the village in the very hot sun in the month of August. The number of children at Horizon Lanka too started increasing day by day.

At that time, I was tied up with writing a lengthy funding proposal, therefore she was on her own. Hence she did not have my guidance for her work schedule.  She scheduled her lessons and classes the way she and the children wished and consulted me only when she felt that she needed my advice.

The only time we could talk at length was during our meals. I joined her during almost all meals and we would talk about the difference of cultures in our two countries. Klara was not interested in Czech politics, which I was interested in. I could understand the reasons for it. She was born in the post-communist era.  Hence, could not comment on the communist era much. My late father being a hardcore communist, I had enough communist literature lying around our home which I read since I was a kid and knew much more than Klara did about Czech politics I guess.

Within a few days of our mealtime informal talks, Klara started asking endless questions on Buddhism. Coming from one of the most atheistic countries, I was surprised by her logical questions. I answered with the limited knowledge I had and for the rest, I referred the questions to friends with better knowledge of Buddhism. Her inquisitive questions and my modest researched answers made her devotee of Buddhism I guess. She started meditating at dawn and walked to the nearby Buddhist temple several times.

Like most of the other Czech volunteers, Klara was a good sportswoman. A good volleyball player too. Volleyball is not something I fancied so I wanted to get her into playing cricket with us. She mastered the game of cricket – probably the most complicated game in the world – very quickly and started hitting unstoppable boundaries and sixes. She had played baseball so she had a better grip of the bat and thrashed the ball out of the park most of the times. She was an all-rounder in cricket. She batted vigorously, bowled fast balls and fielded professionally. Thanks to her, the girls at Horizon Lanka too started playing cricket than their favorite game, volleyball.

One of her requests to me was that, I should resume drawing pictures like I used to do before I was introduced to computers in 1999. I promised I would do a painting before the end of 2015 which I could not accomplish. But maybe, before the end of this year I might do so.

At my request, Klara brought me a good book, “The Czechs in a Nutshell” which I am still reading. I wish I could read this faster, but with the backlog of 10 years of work at Horizon Lanka, I do not have the luxury of reading as fast as I used to be in the past.

Klara was one of the smartest female volunteers that I met at Horizon Lanka. I wish I had more time to spend/work with her, but my tight schedule at the time did not allow me to do so. I know she would be a wonderful doctor soon (and hopefully, would volunteer at Horizon Lanka once again.)

Now Klara is the “Official Ambassador” of Horizon Lanka for the Czech Republic. Whenever someone from her country talks to me about volunteering at Horizon Lanka, I immediately direct him or her to Klara and she ensures she always has tome to help out the new volunteer as she knows what and what not to do here in Mahawilachchiya.

I wanted to call her “Nangi” (Sinhala for younger sister), but was bashful to ask her if it was alright to call her that. But after she left, I asked the question with a lot of hesitation over a Facebook chat and she was over the moon, once I did so. Now I call her “Nangi” and she calls me “Ayya” (Sinhala for older brother.)

After 6 weeks, it was difficult to say goodbye to each other and when she had to do so. Just before leaving she knelt down in front of me, with her palms together in worshipful greeting, which is a customary traditional Sri Lankan custom, akin to Western custom of wishing Good Bye (abridged:  God be with you.) Usually this happens when a younger sister leaves home after marriage.  Klara did so in the presence of a big audience at the Mahawilachchiya Rural Hospital. I was flabbergasted and tried my best to stop her doing that, but she would not heed.

All I want now is to be present at her wedding someday and give her a good hug when she leaves with her future husband. Well, only if I am granted a visa to the Czech Republic. Let’s hope for the best.

Klara, Lubomir and I at Mahawilachchiya Rural Hospital

Klára Gebhartová with the students of Horizon Lanka
Klára Gebhartová with the students of Horizon Lanka
Klára Gebhartová at Horizon Lanka a
Klára Gebhartová at Horizon Lanka a
Klára Gebhartová with the students of Horizon Lanka
Klára Gebhartová with the students of Horizon Lanka

Help Us Buying an Electronic Sound System for Horizon Lanka | හොරයිසන් ලංකා ආයතනයට ශබ්ද පද්ධතියක් ලබාදෙන්න

Dancing girls at Horizon Lanka

Dancing girls at Horizon Lanka

 

At Horizon Lanka www.horizonlanka.org we believe that students should enjoy aesthetic subjects in addition to academic subjects. Our children are very good at singing and dancing. We need a proper electronic sound system for that effect. If we have one, we can use it for English speaking and listening activities as well. Can anyone help us buy such a unit? Sony Audio, DVD, MP3 & USB – Model No – MHC-ECL6D costs 20,399 LKR (140.90 USD.) You can see more details at http://www.singersl.com/products/index.asp…

හොරයිසන් ලංකා www.horizonlanka.org ආයතනයේ අපි විශ්වාස කරන්නේ විෂයානුබද්ධ අධ්‍යාපනික කටයුතු අතරේ ළමයින්ට අනිවාර්යයෙන් ලලිතකලා අධ්‍යාපනයක්ද දියයුතු බවයි. අපආයතනයේ ආයතනයේ දරු දැරියන් පාසල් විෂයයන්ට අමතරව ගීත ගායනය සහ නැටුමට ඉතා දක්ෂයි. ඒ සඳහා අවශ්‍ය කරන ඉලෙක්ට්‍රොනික ශබ්ද පද්ධතියක් (electronic sound system) අපිට අවශ්‍ය කර තියෙනවා. ඒ වගේම ඉංග්‍රීසි කථන සහ ඇහුම්කන් දීමේ පාඩම් වලටද ශබ්ද පද්ධතිය උපකාරවෙනවා. කාට හරි පුළුවන්ද මේ සඳහා යන වියදම අප වෙනුවෙන් දරන්න? Sony Audio, DVD, MP3 & USB – Model No – MHC-ECL6D ශබ්ද පද්ධතියක් රුපියල් 20,399/- (140.90 USD) ක් වෙනවා. පහත සම්බන්ධතාවයෙන් ඔබට එම ශබ්ද පද්ධතිය සම්බන්ධ තොරතුරු බලන්න පුළුවන්.

http://www.singersl.com/products/index.asp…

Boys and girls dancing at Horizon Lanka
Boys and girls dancing at Horizon Lanka
Sony Audio, DVD, MP3 & USB - Model No - MHC-ECL6D
Sony Audio, DVD, MP3 & USB – Model No – MHC-ECL6D