The opening ceremony took place Friday, June 1, 2007. In the early morning hours Buddhist monks blessed the Education Centre at the astrologic fortune time. At 11:00 a.m. we arrived at the meeting point, about half a kilometre away from the PLAYMOBIL school. A crowd of people from the village who didn't want to miss the event had already gathered. The honoured guests received flower bouquets and walked in a procession through the village to the school. The procession was lead by young men in traditional costumes and masks who danced and played the drums.
A welcome banner was hung above the entrance gate, and we were welcomed by the vice director of the school, teachers and kindergarten students dressed in their new school uniforms.

 

The first task was already awaiting me: next to the Sri Lanka flag and the flag of Jayawickreme Foundation I was to raise the German flag. I also had the honourable task of officially opening the school by cutting through a red ribbon that was spanned across the entrance door.

 

In Sri Lanka it is common that the whole village joins in the celebration!First, a Buddhist monk prayed. Then, following an old Sri Lankan tradition, an oil lamp was lit. Speeches were said and best wishes for the success of the school expressed. The entertainment program was beautifully arranged by the kids of the foundations school in Denipitiya: dressed in colourful costumes they presented dance and singing performances on stage.In Sri Lanka it is common that the whole village joins in the celebration!First, a Buddhist monk prayed. Then, following an old Sri Lankan tradition, an oil lamp was lit. Speeches were said and best wishes for the success of the school expressed. The entertainment program was beautifully arranged by the kids of the foundations school in Denipitiya: dressed in colourful costumes they presented dance and singing performances on stage.

Despite all the festiveness, events like this are celebrated in a very unconventional way: the guests are mulling around; talking and walking and some taking a seat somewhere else - there is constant movement and noise!The ceremony ended with the giving of presents to the children. It was a very nice and joyful celebration which surely will remain for a long time in the memory of all participants.
Report by Pamela Ernst