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Brooms are for Ladies

February 13, 2008

Helen – Today I raked leaves….there are three trees in our yard that have large leaves (size of our sycamore) and they are everywhere.  We were supposed to have someone clean the yard…but this has become a problem since the theft.  At least the cow poop wasn’t there and I didn’t have to work around that.  I almost fell into the pond trying to get those leaves out, my flip flop slipped on the muddy edge and I just caught myself on the wall but wrenched my shoulder.  Sometimes I am not a happy camper!

I didn’t know what to do with all the leaves and asked at the hotel…they said put them in bags and leave them at the end of your driveway; the garbage men will pick them up.  Where do you get these bags??  Walk down to the main road and ask for the empty 100 lb four/rice bags which hold a lot of leaves.  I did this (actually got across what I wanted!) and returned home with three bags for 45 cents.  I left them at the driveway and Thursday morning only one empty bag was there…guess someone else needed them more than I did.

In the afternoon, we went to Food City and Arpico where I exchanged a baking pan.  The first one I bought didn’t fit into my little oven.  I am determined to try to make brownies but I have to wait until tomorrow to get on the internet to convert C to F for the oven temperature.

Tom – On our beach walk this morning I took a picture of part of an Italian ship that was wrecked off the cost here a number of years ago.  Some days the hull is visible, other days the sea has filled it with sand.

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Little beach friend

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I spent 2.5 hours this morning marking out a 1 km course on the roads of the University of Ruhuna campus.  The two instructors who were assisting me were there ready to go (white enamel paint, paint brush) at 10am as planned.  However, Vini the female instructor who is always late had not come into the office yet and she was the only one who had a key to get the 100 meter measuring tape.  H.R. had to hire a Tuk-Tuk to go get her!  As a result we didn’t start until 10:30am.

I had also asked them to bring a broom to sweep (clean) the road before we applied the paint.  Well, brooms are the province of the cleaning ladies.  They are the ones who must use the brooms.  So, one had to accompany us to sweep the asphalt before painting our lines and numbers.  Then the other cleaning ladies came to get her for lunch at noon and she then, very reluctantly, gave up custody of her broom for the last half hour of our work.

I tried to make the course as flat as possible on a very hilly campus.  But when we got to the 900 meter mark the last 100 meters was up a steep hill!  We did mark the course to one kilometer at the top of the hill (entrance to the Botany building) but then also instituted a Plan B by going back to one of our turns and marking off an additional 50 meter toward the front gate of campus.  That way an individual could avoid the final hill by doing the round trip distance of 100 meters toward the front gate.

By the way, this is a secure? (I think it would be easy to bypass these guards) campus.  You must pass through a security gate/fence with guards to get onto the road into campus.  A few days ago they checked the bottom of my car with mirrors for bombs.

After shopping with Helen in the afternoon I went back into the office at 5pm to use the internet connection in my office.  When I finished my “must do” work, and also because the mosquitoes were eating me alive, I left the office at 7pm.  When I turned out my light – it was totally dark!  I could not see my hand in front of my face.  I had to feel my way down three walkways and two sets of stairs to get to the car which was barely visible in the parking lot – energy conservation!

Mosquitoes (and other insects) – these buggers are something else!  They are lighter and faster than the fat/slow mosquitoes in Ohio.  Kind of like a comparison of Sri Lankans to Ohioans.  You cannot tell when they are biting you unless you actually see them on your body!  When you do see them and go to smack them, nine times out of ten they can avoid your blow!  Helen and I have about 50 bites each just on our legs and they last for days!  We started taking our malaria pills again; we haven’t been taking them for a month because we were told they were not needed in this area. One of the main problems could be our fresh water pond.

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