It was a long drive. The route took over 250km, and the Kandy-Jaffna Highway is a relatively boring road with heavy traffic at times. On the 4th hour of driving, Tupi had already taken a short nap, but was woken up by Jenny. "Bridge..." Jenny said and shook Tupi, and as Tupi opened his eyes, he saw the 300m long Sangupiddy bridge over a shallow Jaffna lagoon. The still water looked like a mirror reflecting into a perfectly blue cloudless sky. Looking at the water from the other side of the van, Tupi looked through the crystal clear water and see through to the shallow sandy lagoon. There was much sea weed and some small fishes. "Looks like a nice place to walk..." Tupi said, however the sun was too intense to invite such an idea.
Soon, there was moderate traffic again going into Jaffna, and they reached the orphanage. Getting out of the van, Tupi was greeted by 2 rows of children who smiled and waved at him as he walked by. Tupi felt rather uncomfortable as he was not really here to be part of the guest, but rather, he was here a Jenny's friend. A young girl grabbed Tupi's hand and said. "Welcome!" The feeling was rather intense. The kids stared into his eyes, expecting Tupi to do something and Tupi just avoided eye contact and continued walking.
Tupi was shown into his room and the kids outside watched him unpack and Tupi walked over and closed the doors on the kids as they continued to peep at him. Tupi quickly changed and unpacked, and met up with Jenny at the dining area where they had a late lunch with the kids watching.
"Don't they have classes?" Tupi asked.
"They are still waiting for the next group of volunteer who will be arriving later today." Jenny replied.
"So, their classes just stop when no volunteers are around?"
"This seldom happen as there are always overlaps in the volunteer's schedules."
"How long do the volunteers stay?"
"A week to a month..."
"So they change quite often?"
After lunch, Tupi went to meet the kids in the other room where they were having English classes. "Wow, they learn English? Can they read and write?" Tupi asked.
"Yes, quite well actually. We do have teachers that teach them English everyday." Jenny said.
"What do the volunteers so then?"
"The volunteers teach maths, science, and most other things that come to their mind. The English class is about an hour each day, and the other classes are conducted by the volunteers. We have some textbooks which have curriculum which the volunteers can pick topics from. Why don't you help out later and read a story to the 5 year olds."
Tupi looked through the library and picked "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. "umm... no..." Tupi said, placed the book back and shook his head, then picked up "Charlotte's Web" Then it was story time where Tupi sat and the kids surrounded him and he read the book to all of them. Tupi even made animal noises which the kids thoroughly enjoyed, and Tupi felt a deep connection with the kids as they began to sit closer to him as the chapter progresses.
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