Baskaran’s House is Complete

Josh Wisker writes about his experience of his latest trip to Sri Lanka, where the team completed Baskaran and his family’s house, which was built by The Dust Project...

This April I flew out once again to Sri Lanka with a team of 9 English & German students, ready to make a difference in the lives of whoever we were to come across. This was my 4th time travelling to Sri Lanka, but it was the first time for every other member on this particular trip. We met regularly in London beforehand to plan and prepare ourselves for this big trip, and during our preparation stages were able to gather about 200kg of donations to fly out in our luggage! When we arrived we spent our first few days volunteering in the Paalam International School in Colombo. This was really good fun to spend a few days with 250 kids keen to practice english and looking to challenge us on our cricket and football skills! The school is an amazing place and really does a great job in giving the kids a wide set of job opportunities by teaching their curriculum in English.

After this we travelled 9 hours north to Jaffna to take on the main project of our trip; painting a house! The house we were painting was for a family who had been previously living in a tin shack, but thanks to an earlier Dust Project team, had been built a brand new house! The family were really moved that they hadn’t just had one team give up their time to come and build them a house, but that a second team would come and finish off the job by painting it top to bottom, inside and out (a task that would have cost about a years wages in Sri Lanka for the painting alone). 

The Father of the family, Baskaran, was very emotional by the end of our few days serving him and his family, and after thanking us through tears told us, “You haven’t just painted my house, but you’ve painted my heart”. Our team were also very emotional as a man we’d barely just met, being twice our age and culturally miles apart from us, was being so vulnerable with us and sharing how grateful he was for our time spent with them.

Our trip had been amazing fun and we enjoyed every moment of it. Despite blistering heat, long days, and for Daniel, a broken collar bone (a game of ‘Whats the Time Mr. Wolf’ gone wrong…) we had an absolute blast. And to think that the tasks that we had enjoyed doing had been life changing for the people we did them for (as well as ourselves) was astounding. Trips like these are completley win win, everybody gains something from them, and as more Dust Project teams seem to be hitting the skies and heading to Sri Lanka, there’s a notable difference and improvement on the ground each time I visit this amazing country. Big thanks to everyone who donated items to take on this trip, everything we brought found a grateful home in no time at all. And also thanks to the Dust Project & Paalam for hosting us and making us feel so welcome. 

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© The Dust Project 2019