Sri Lanka Immersion Tour

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Once again it has been such a rewarding and fulfilling Immersion experience for our Year 12 students. At the end of Term 1, Sami Nightingale, Maya O’Brien, Lily McIlroy, Jamie Dwyer, Sophia Van Zijl, Cody Potter, Olivia Jones, Darma Teixeira, Phillipa Dwyer, Morgan Pettit-Granger, Jasmin Birmingham accompanied by Mr Joseph and Mrs Boggis journeyed eight thousand kilometres to Kalpitiya in Sri Lanka. On the evening of Good Friday, the pilgrims were welcomed with open arms by the head of house, Br Lal Fonseca, Br Navinda, Br Ephraim and their support staff Chattu and Ransilu. The Brothers serve a mostly underprivileged mixture of people of various religions and cultures.
 
The Immersion pilgrims settled in and very quickly acquainted themselves with the community in Kalpitiya. After a day of excursions to historical sites and churches the pilgrims embarked on the main task of tutoring English to school children at their respective schools and a number of outstations, teaching students at centres around villages. The pilgrims showed immense resilience giving their best on some very hot days. 
 
The evenings were spent in prayer, reflection, sharing and journaling. There was time to relax and socialize with some keen young boys and girls who attended the homework centre at the Brothers place. The daytime interactions and evening socializing gave the students a chance to experience a different culture. Many friendships were made.
 
The hard work of the week was rewarded with a trip to Anuradhapura, a former capital of Sri Lanka and the most important Buddhist site. The students were taken to Mihintale, the site where Buddhism was first introduced in Sri Lanka over 2000 years ago. Pilgrims also visited the famous stupa at Ruwanwelisaya and the famous Bodhi tree that was brought from India in 288BCE.  The pilgrims had time to shop and relax at a luxury hotel. 
 
Nearing the end of the Immersion, the highlight was the concert night and presentations. There was a feast of Bollywood dancing and cultural Sri Lankan cultural items. The St Teresa’s Team gave a couple of great team performances sharing Australian culture with the Sri Lankans.
 
It was a sad farewell as strong bonds were made during the time there. Gifts were exchanged and a lively group of girls, with their teachers, left Kalpitiya on Tuesday 10th April.

This was truly a wonderful trip of solidarity, where two groups of people interacted with each other acknowledging that they were equal yet different and how they could be of service to each other.