Ocean Stars team 2014

Ocean Stars team 2014

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

New Video!!!

The Sri Lanka 2014 Video 

The new video is up on YouTube! Its a quick snapshot of everything we got up to during our time in Sri Lanka. Enjoy!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Home Safe and Sound!

After spending two nights in Colombo the group packed up their bags and headed to the airport at 2.30am on Sunday morning. It then came to say an emotional goodbye to Cobra and God and get on the plane to Mumbai. The 2 hour flight was a huge blur as the majoirty of the group slept through the takeoff and landing. We then had to wait in the airport for 5 hours. Some of us took up the opportunity to eat KFC for breakfast and others fell asleep on the airport chairs. 

After all the waiting we jumped on to the final plane which would take us home. The 9 hour flight was filled with sleeping, eating and movie watching. Finally, at 5.30pm the group landed on the solid cold ground of heathrow airport. We whizzed through the border, customs and baggage reclaim. Then in true cinematic style we ran through the gates to be reunited with our family and friends. 

Although it is great to be home we are missing the smiles of the Sri Lankan people (especially Cobra and God) and the warmth of the Sri Lankan sunshine. We have all made friendships with the students in Sri Lanka that will never be lost (thanks to facebook). We will carry the memories that we have made in Sri Lanka with us for the rest of our lives.

I would just like to say thank you for everyone who has read the blog daily and followed our journey in Sri Lanka. Even though we did hit some technical difficulites it was been a pleasure to write the blog along with all the other memebers of the team everyday. 

Beyond Boundaries is a brilliant company so please feel free to like them on Facebook and support what they are doing.  

Also if you want to find out even more about the work of Ocean Stars visit them at: 

Thank you very much!!

Lots of love from Sameena x

Final Group photo after our last circle time in Colombo.

Saying Goodbye in Sri lanka.

Friday, 31 October 2014

31st October 2014

After a tasty Sri-Lankan breakfast of roti, sambal and fish curry (!) we left Batticaloa at 8:30am and stopped for some snacks at Food City before a quick visit to the Dutch fort and the lighthouse in Batti.  We also broke our journey to visit the indigenous people of Sri-Lanka who showed us how to light a fire and shoot with a bow and arrow - well done to the boys for this!  We stopped for lunch at KFC which was most welcome by the students and we are still en route to Colombo, which has been a long journey today.  We are looking forward to some retail therapy tomorrow and some pool time before our journey home.  The students have all been fantastic and really made the most of their Sri-Lankan experience - they are a real credit to us all.

Please remember you will need to collect your lovely students from Heathrow airport on Sunday around 5:40pm.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Mrs Angel
Having fun on the way to Colombo

Lovely Lucy and Sweet Serena!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 8 - Sophia and Stormie

Day 8 - Sophia and Stormie

Today, we joined the mixed school for a sports day. There were lots of activities, although they had little resources, but were able to produce an excellent event. The activities included football, long jump and a version of basketball, which a bin and a ball was used. The students thoroughly enjoyed the morning, and it was great to see all the smiles and enthusiasm from everyone despite the heat. At the end, the students from the mixed school received trophies and medals as did the students of Calthorpe Park.

At 4pm, the Variety show began. There were so many amazing talents - the dancing was amazing and unique to the country. Georgie, Leanne and Faye brought fake snow which the children loved touching since they had never experienced it before. At the end, everyone was dancing on the stage, it allowed everyone to say goodbye to each other. Due to the bonds created between the students it was very hard to leave them, however we will never forget the children or the experience they gave us. We all learnt the one lesson that you don’t need loads to be happy, as all the children we met had so little, but gave so much.

Sophia and Stormie x

ps. Sorry the storm last night caused the Wi-Fi to stop working and pictures take a while to load will add more when we arrive in Colombo (love Sameena)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Day 8- Nicole and Imogen

Hello everyone,

Today has been a slightly different experience for everyone. After having spent 2 days at the same school with the same children, everyone visited a different school. This was strange due to the fact that we have grown friendships with the children we have taught over the past few days, however we also had the chance to build new friendships and teach new children. Today the PE group did not have the assistance of Mr Taylor, so we were therefore completely independent, which was challenging at times but we were also really excited to do it. Today we were at an all girls school, and from our own experiences of PE, we decided football and cricket was not the best option. 

On arrival we were asked what age group we'd prefer, deciding on the youngest possible we set about games and any last minute changes were handled extremely well and smoothly. Splitting this huge class of fifty we decided that we'd set up stations with different activities parachute, always a crowd pleaser, then adding an abundance of plastic colourful balls that were thrown pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Then they'd retrieve the balls and you can imagine this was extremely popular with the children (even the older ones) this then followed by numerous parachute games.  Another station featured the famous 'duck duck goose' which went down brilliantly with now not just balls flying everywhere the children were zooming round the circle in a desperate attempt to catch the other. The third station was a lucky dip struggling to think of games on the spot Imogen decided to take matters into her own hands creating a dance which spread like wild fire. Soon the third station were teaching Nicole's group, making their way to the stage they then all taught Sameena's group who then after ten or so minutes decided to always proceed to the stage. It was remarkable how they could remember such a long routine that then had a tune as well as basic choreography. We were all so touched on how such small things can make them so happy with fifty smiling faces leaving our lesson we couldnt wait for the next group.

Every group was so different with different personalities the only thing that stayed the same was the huge groups of children and now our sore throats we led another lesson and another until around 12pm. Expecting one class that never showed we were left alone with a group of girls that we'd been introduced to on the first day and whom of which had been with us most of the day acting as translators (they were all 14 and spoke phenomenal English.) We spoke for around an hour and half before lunch about life in England and life in Sri Lanka, the cultural differences are extraordinary and a real eye opener. 

After all of the lessons had been completed we made our way back to the hotel and as per usual, we spent our free time at the amazing pool. After spending hours in the pool with each other, we made our way back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. Everyone is excited for tomorrow as it is sports day, when many schools get together and enjoy the day together with the money the team has raised. Lets hope its another great day at the schools!

Thank you,

Nicole, Imogen and Sameena.

Sameena cramming as many students as possible around a parachute.

Imogen taking charge of her group. 

Nicole with the students.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

DAY 7 - Jake and Harry

Today was a really great day. We taught children at really young ages, around 6 upto 16. There was a mixture of boys and girls. The sun was hot. It was hard to play football in the very hot sun.The teachers enjoyed their day also at the mixed school and at the girls school. 
This evening we gathered at a local town hall with Batticaloa's Deaf and Blind society. It was truly inspiring seeing a community so strong after all they have been through. We had various activities going on such as; balloon animal making, crown making as well as many various games that were enjoyed by children and their parents. The highlight of the night for me (Jake) so far was teaching a man, around 50 years old, how to play dominoes. As he started to pick up the rules his smile grew increasingly bigger - for the rest of the night he treated me with real warmth and the usual Sri Lankan kindness and friendliness we always receive. 
The day was ended by the group featuring in a Sri Lankan episode of Trolley Dash in the local 'Food City'.

Thank-you, we are looking forward for tomorrow.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Day 5 and 6

Day 5 and 6 - Stormie and Sophia

Day 5
As usual, we had to get up at 7 to have breakfast at 8. We had a buffet breakfast which consisted of bread, toast, beans, omelettes etc. We then began our long 5 hour drive to reach Batticaloa to meet the Ocean Stars team. On the way, we visited a stunning beach, the sea was really warm, and everyone took loads of photos! We continued our journey and after an hour we eventually reached the hotel after the coach got delayed. We got to speak to some college students who were really friendly, and were amazed that we were so young! We then met the team and had circle time, then went for a vegetarian dinner at 8pm.

Day 6
After the long wait, today would be the day we would visit the schools! We had an early start and had to get up at 6 in order to have breakfast at 6:30, (so early!). At 7:30 we left to go to the different schools. Whilst the Cobra team visited the mixed school, the Tiger team drove to the all girls school. The Cobra team were greeted by a parade where villagers came out to see us. The band was part of the school, and they were all so talented and enthusiastic - we all felt very welcomed. We then were blessed with some water which was sprinkled on us and we got given some flower garlands. Next, we got to join in the assembly and were introduced by the principal. The assembly was really good, we got to hear some of the girls sing a Sri Lankan prayer, and some others recite some passages. In the assembly, we got to introduce ourselves, and the children's faces lit up with joy especially when Mr T high fived and fist bumped them! We could tell it was going to be an amazing and fun experience.

For most, our first lesson did not go to plan, as we were unprepared for the challenges, but we managed to overcome them, and it was definitely a learning curve. Our second lesson on the other hand was more successful since we were more prepared to teach the children. One team gave the students the choice of making a loom band bracelet or a plastic canvas coaster. This ended up being a double lesson since the cross stitching took a long time! The girls enjoyed making loom bracelets and colouring in fairy masks, they also loved learning new songs and numbers. The other team was the sports group, they taught a variety of activities to the children who loved all the games.

For the Tiger team, the day started with them also getting flower garlands followed by an assembly and a small tour of the school. The students at the all girls school were very excited and Lucy, Serena and Rhianna's group had 72 students in one class! We all got a lunch packet, which consisted of rice, curry, vegetables and fish. For some groups, they had the same students for the whole day, which meant they had to improvise the later lessons!

The Cobra team ended up having a shorter day than the Tiger team, which was great since the Cobra's had the whole pool to themselves! We are really looking forward to meeting some new students tomorrow! 

Cobra Creating Crowns

Loom band Excitement 

Showing off loom band bracelets and rings

Rachel and her new friends

Having fun in the pool after a hot day in the school

Content with his sewing abilities