I describe here travels on my AUC work with Nirmali Hettiarachchi, when we also took along for the ride Malathi Thalgodapitiya who had begun to work with us as her sister Mrinali had done. Kithsiri got on splendidly with these my Sri Lankan friends too, and much appreciated their great energy and commitment. And as noted he evinced this himself, in the readiness with which he undertook any heavy labour connected with my classes.

The pictures are of Saman and Gamini Weerakoon, and of the Monte Farno Seminary, the Mahiyangana Resthouse and the Randiya Hotel.

Travelling with the team

I travelled next with Kithsiri on Wednesday February 1st when I went to Belihuloya for classes and a meeting with students. Next morning it was the Bandarawela RESC and the Rahangala AUC and then the Nuwara Eliya RESC and the Hatton GELT Centre after which we returned to Colombo, having hoppers on the way back at a delightful boutique we had found near Pelmadulla.

It was only on the Friday that I set off again, driven by Shanta, taking both Nirmali and Malathi. We went via Belihuloya to Buttala where we were interviewed by the brightest student there, Saman Indrajith, whom I later introduced to the ‘Island’ where he has since worked. Nirmali dubbed him ‘Beetle’ since in the midst of an interview he diverted our attention to a beetle on the ground.

After Gamini Weerakoon the editor of the ‘Island’ took him on, he told me when we met at a funeral that he had expected someone from Royal or S. Thomas’, and this boy had told him his parents did not know English. I told Gamini that I no longer dealt in the big schools and most students in the country had parents who did not know English. I was gratified the next time I met Gamini when he told me the boy was the best trainee he had come across.

Saman was a difficult child and loathed by more orthodox teachers, one of whom gave him a bad mark in one of his finals papers. I was shocked and asked him if he was upset, to which he said not a whit. He had got an A from me for an international literature paper, and he said that was what mattered, not what others awarded him.

We spent the weekend at Girandurukotte, with Saturday night at the Mahiyangana Resthouse, getting back to Colombo on Sunday afternoon, having dropped Malathi at a relation’s place in Kandy and seeing Fr Stephen at Monte Farno. The next three days I worked in Colombo and then went with Nirmali and Malathi on Thursday February 18th via Negombo and Chilaw to drop books to the Anuradhapura AUC for classes, spending the night at the charming Randiya Hotel. I have not noted before that one of the many helpful qualities of Kithsiri was his untiring hauling of books into the car and out, counting them carefully whenever I passed them on to the various institutions which were to dispose of them.

Next day we went to the Vavuniya AUC for a Board meeting and seeing the students, and then came back to Colombo, stopping at the Randiya for lunch.