At the beginning of last week I was invited to go to the Northwestern Province Health Excellence Awards with the rehab centre team as they had won an award, (I don't know what I'm doing here as they seem to be doing a pretty fine job to me). Everyone disappeared at lunchtime to go and get ready and put on their finest gladrags. Dr T told me to go home and change (Arrgh more clothing dilemmas!) and she would pick me up in an hour. Anyway the dress (one of two I had brought with me) was given the thumbs up. We arrived at 1.30pm and eventually things kicked off an hour and a half later, after I had been hunted out by the event organiser and moved from the balcony seats down to the stalls nearer to the stage. There was some marvellous Kandyan dancers. Several members of staff from the various hopitals took to the stage for a turn at singing and various governement ministers came along to present the awards and make some speeches. The proceedings went on for over three and half hours and I confess my concentration lapsed at times, as did the band who appeared to slump further and further down their chairs. At one point, one of the band members started to write his shopping list, either that or finishing off a game of suduko. I suspected this because as he eventually put down his pen and paper, he definitely had a look of quiet satisfaction. Anyway I was pleased to have gone and it was lovely to share in the teams success.
I started to cycle to work last week, much to the surprise of passers by. Clearly not something you usually see on a Monday morning, (I believe I am the only werterner in town). Apparently it is not common for a woman to ride a bicycle, though many women smiled broadly at me and I'm sure they were dying to shout out "You Go Girl!" Unfortunately, the combination of heat, traffic fumes and dust has played havoc with my lungs and triggered some asthma and I've had to get myself kitted out with an inhaler. Hopefully this will settle down.
The staff at the rehab centre seem to be doing a very good job and with very little resources. There is one telephone, no computer or typewriter. Letters are written out in longhand and a copy made using carbon paper. There is also a problem getting hold of enough medication and Dr T was phoning round the other day trying to get stocks for next week. The clients get involved in preparing meals and cook over an open range. Clients also get involved in variety of activities including gardening. I was a bit shocked to see them using knives and scythes (no EU health and safety directives here) especially as they were only wearing flip-flops. Today's gardening involved 'pruning' the coconut trees at the back of the centre. It was amazing to watch a man scale the trees just using a loop of cloth around his feet (see photo's).
An update on the indoor pets. I haven't seen the spider but his younger relation appeared in the bathroom the other day. He has since disappeared. The ghecko's are breeding. There are several more scurrying about and really tiny baby ones. Trouble is I'm still not expecting to see them and always jump. Mind you I'm not sure who is more startled by the other. I came home today to find one hiding beneath the bananas! Sweeping needs to be a daily activity to keep the ants at bay. My landlord came round at the weekend and advised me not to leave the backdoor open unattended because rats might come in or snakes might be attracted by the cool tiled floor, (Slam!) enough said.
There are also lots of animals out and about. Loads of dogs, many of who are pets, most of who seem reasonably well fed...and well behaved. I've only seen a couple of cats and I'd only been here a couple of days to find a young cat (with attitude!) at my back door demanding some food. I've since found out she lives across the road. Cows also wander about! There was a cow having a stroll down the middle of the road this afternoon as I was travelling back home on the bus. I've seen a monkey and the best was to see a monitor lizard crawl up the bank of a stream and wander off into the undergrowth. He must have been four to five foot long...a relation of the komodo dragon you know! But no elephants yet...