Week Without Walls Jaffna Trip
This Week Without walls experience was one to remember, it was a trip full of amazing monuments and amazing feets of human ability. At first, I wasn’t though I wasn’t that ecstatic about the trip as I had my mindset on doing the Biking trip called venture north, or doing the Housing trip. As people before had such an amazing time during those trips so I had my mind-set on doing one of those trips first. So I was disappointed and to add on we had to be at school at 4 in the morning and we had to get to the train station at 4:30 for the train so that as another downfall as we had to wake up very early in the morning. But with all this being said I still had an open mind as the trip had some very interesting areas that we were going to visit such as one of the oldest trees in Sri Lanka, as well as one of the largest temples in the world. In addition to this we also were performing, well I wasn’t I was the camera guy, and I personally love photography so it was, all in all, it looked like a great trip.
The First day was by the longest and more tiring day of the whole trip. I had to wake up AT 3:30 I THE MORNING I realized that my bag was not even fully packed so it was half-awake Andrew rushing around his room trying to shove as many clothes into a back not big enough to pit everything. So it was hectic enough as it is, but also, I couldn’t be late to school as the train was not going to wait for me. I arrived at school at 4:00 on the dot and to my surprise, I was the first person there so I waited for around 10 minutes and a call later, Mrs. Duncun, followed by Ritheek 5 minutes later arrived and we rushed off to the train station. Where we waited for another 20 minutes for the rest of the people to arrive. You could see the faces of everyone and how tired they were. Louis told me as he got out of the train that he just didn’t sleep as he had to complete his Film piece so he was awake for already 24 hours. While others were obviously just tired as hell from waking up this early. Once we got onto the train something no one as expected from the train was how cold it got. We were all expecting the trains to be hot, but the train was clean and very cold. The Whole train was air-conditioned so it was a very comfortable trip one we got out of the city. Because I remember Mr.Lockwood telling us that the first 10-15 minutes the train is very bumping and shaking and he wasn’t lying we were swaying from left to right like madmen. The worst part was he had a drawing and writing exercises, I tried to do it but It was impossible if you were to look at my first 2 pages it was just lines and scribbles because it was impossible to writing anything. Other than those first 10-15 minutes the train ride otherwise was very pleasant. Because we weren’t restricted to our seat we could roam and walk around the carriages freely without having pins and needles. So It as a very enjoyable 6 and a half hours. The train also had a “Bar” area where we could buy popcorn and drinks so overall the train ride was so enjoyable. After 6 and a half hours on the train, we arrived in Jaffna around 12:30. One thing I know is that even though we could walk around the train, walking on the flat ground had never felt better. The bus was already waiting for us there
because they drove a day ahead of time with all the equipment. We checked into the hotel and I think that was the best part of our trip. Louis, Liam, Thala and I had a 2-floor suite with 2 master bedrooms. I got to stay in my own room and there were 3 TVs in the whole room. THREE TVs! I was mindblown. After settling in and having a delicious lunch and to top it off we when to the signature ice cream parlor which was famous in Jaffna so we had a really good lunch and had the best Ice cream in town. This was good for my belly but afterward, I had to take my shirt off for the temple so we all were pregnant with food babies. The temple itself was beautiful there was gold plating everywhere and was really spectacular it was shinning. The Nallur Temple was the main temple in Jaffna and while we were there we got to see 2 ritual where we walked clockwise around the temple ( We weren’t allowed walk anticlockwise) The rituals itself was 3-4 monks walking around the temple who opened each shrine around the temple. It was very fascinating and interesting to see. In the end, they had collected all the flowers which had been blessed and was thrown in the public where people rushed to grab a flower and put on their head.
Afterward, we returned to our buss and put on our shirts again and everyone felt normal again. Then we went to go see the Dutch fort, This fort was very important during the war times as it was a controlling point of the area and there was only one entrance and one exit. The single bridge that controlled the ins and outs of the area.
Mr. Marlon Told us a very interesting story about this Fort, During there LTT war times there we a couple of soldiers stuck in the fort and the only way those soldiers managed to service and live was though airdrops with the help of cover fire. As we walking around the fort we could see the bullet holes everywhere and a church that was under construction that had been burned down during the war. This Fort has a lot of memorabilia and significance to Sri Lanka as a whole. I personally was very impressed with the architecture of the and I understood why it was such an important area during the war. This concluded the first day of our trip where we returned to our amazing hospitality and had an amazing meal and a very comfortable bed :).
On the second day of the trip, we went to visit an island
nearby the Jaffna peninsula by boat the trip there was surprisingly calm and steady, the breeze in your face was really nice because there were so many people on the boat we got forced to be put on the top of the boat which was the best because we got the breeze in our face and we had space as it got really crowded down there.
There was a very iconic and amazing temple that we went to visit. It was as the monk said guarded and protected by the KIng of Sri Lanka back then. It was said that Buddha himself had come to visit
his region of Sri Lanka and His throne was Encased in a Glass throne
There were various other monuments as well there was as seen on
the left a monument of an Elephant in the middle of a pond.
On the way back to the Port we saw a huge temple, it was at like 50 meters in height and it had a hug scaled version of the elephants on the left. I was this was one of the main reasons come to this island is because of this huge monument that was built here hundreds of years ago. It was a mind-blowing experience, one interesting thing was that everyone wasn’t allowed to wear shoes, and even though I hate wearing no shoes, it was fairly clean.
Day 3 was the more enriching and fun day because we got to experience the culture of Sri Lanka and we also got to perform back to them. It was very fun to see them because everyone was so welcoming and amazed by seeing other people. They kept asking us questions and wanting to know where we were from and about our life. It was a very humbling experience and I really treasure those moments.
Afterward, we got to go to the Iconic banana leaf plate restaurant where we got to eat in one of the most famous restaurants in the Jaffna region. The food was so good and once again people we shocked to see “pale” people in this part of the region. It was also very nice to see the development of the Jaffna region and how much they have changed for the better knowing the fact that this as one of the most impacted regions in Sri Lanka post-war.
Overall I think that this week without walls was a very underrated and very fun trip that I personally at the start was that enthusiastic about but after actually doing the trip I very much enjoyed the trip a lot. It was a create a new experience and was a great excuse to be lazy as at the time I was fully committed to track and field and doing training every single day. So it was a good change of pace and gave me some time to relax.
- Strength & growth.
- Challenge & skills.
- Initiative & planning.
- Working collaboratively with others.
- Showing perseverance and commitment.
- Global engagement.
- Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.