The Homerun Event

As a leader of the housing and habitat service group at OSC, the homerun event was the first time for our service to properly function, together and for DP 1s to lead the group to a successfull event. Ive already made some posts about the planning of the event so this will strictly be on the actual outcome of the event.

All things considered, this event was a success, it proved that despite an almost complete lack of experience in the event, we could still pull it off, and get enough money to fund our future projects. The day of the event, most of us woke up at around 5:30, to be at school at 6:30, which in itself is an accomplisment; getting 20 teenagers to get up for free is no easy work. Besides that, we already had everything organised thanks to the efforts of the DP1s in the combined group (Nik, Diyath, Liam, Arvin, Yangki, and myself) so logistically the only difficult thing was getting people to where they had to be.

 

Credit: Mr. Leblanc

 

After getting gathered, the first half of the group was herded into the van and dropped off at their designated spots. My role as the man in the van was getting people to their spots and telling them what to do as I had done the course with Mr Leblanc and Nik a couple days before in preparation. I also had the duty of making sure everyone was comfortable and more importantly safe, within close distance of other people and not in a heavily trafficked spot or somthing. After the van got back from picking up the rest of the people, we carried on the route, dropping everyone off before heading back, following the last person in the event and picking up/cleaning up the groups as we went. Luckily, we learned that only one person got lost which we took as a success.

Our learning outcomes that were achevied was first of all showing the initiation to actually plan a successful event. Another key learning outcome was collaboration. As I said, the event was a collaboration between Housing and Habitat and Care for Paws, and to highlight this we tried to pair people up with partners from the other service group, in order to establish new freindships and whatnot. The event as a whole was a demonstration of undertaking new challenges, and persevering in doing so. During the planning of the event we came across a bunch of little annoyances that reduced our productivity, such as limited working days as a group, problems with the route, planning for rain, manpower etc, but in the end, with only a small bit of improvisation, we pulled off a successful event and reached our goal, which will enable us to help a local school by furnishing and providing basic infrastructure in the near future.

 

 

 

Basketball with the Homies

Last Saturday (16/4/21) a group of 15 of my freinds and fellow basketball players met up at CLC basketball hub for 2 hours of intense 5v5 basketball games. For me it was an oppurtunity to play with basketball players that werent from our school as well as Henry, who left last year. It also proved to be a great learning experience for playing as a team because for the most part, we play basektball on a single half, usually 3 on 3s or 4 on 4s so playing a full on game was a great way to be reminded of how basketball is proffessionally played. The learning outcomes are strength and skill and collaboration, as we improved upon both our teamwork and individual prowess, challenge and skills, because a lot of people there weren’t accostomed to playing a proper game, and perseverance; in the form of dealing with the cramps and tiredness that accompany a nonstop-2 hour extremely physical game. All things considered, the experience was a good one, for cas and just in general.

Images courtesy of Diyath Kularatne DP1

Planning for the Home Run

For the last 3 weeks our service group, housing and habitat, have been hard at work planning for the upcoming homerun fundraiser which is happening for the first time in 2 years. To plan for the event we had to determine our goals, so that we could figure out how much money we needed to raise. Next, we considered the old route and how we could improve it based off the feedback we received. The new route was then decided after about 2 service meetings.

 

Designed by Arvin Fonseka DP 1 on Canva

 

After deciding the route we allocated roles as well as discussing what the event would look like for us, what we would need to bring, when we would need to wake up, and what each person would be doing before, during and after the event. In the coming weeks, our service group will involve Care for Paws and begin to implement our ideas.

Highlands Poster

Created By: Sasindu (DP1), James (Dp1), James (MYP5), John (MYP 5), Lucca (DP1)

This poster demonstrates CAS outcomes achieved on the WWW Highlands Trip as well as showing some memorable pictures to encapsulate the experience.

Highlands Trip (Days 3-5)

Our view from the hotel balcony in the morning

Day 3:

Needless to say we had an excellent sleep that night, the freezing wind and cool temperatures saw to that. This day was all about Horton Plains.

At around 8:00 that morning we headed off to the famous park with the goal of climbing the 2nd highest peak in Sri Lanka, which we accomplished just for lunch. Our journey was pretty nice, hiking through the plains before reaching a cloud forest. Hiking in the cloud forest was a bit difficult, absolutely enraging a couple people with its steep overgrown paths and low hanging bushes however we saw a a lot of cool biodiversity unique to the high altitude.

Some of the cool species that we saw:

We also saw a little froggo all the way at the top of the peak but unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture of it.

Of course the biodiversity wasn’t the only thing we came for, the view were absolutely amazing. Fortunately I managed to get some nice, grainy pictures of it.

Day 4: we made the journey to Nuwara-Eliya today, more importantly to Jagro for some tasty fresh strawberries and cheesecake. After our shortish break we made our way to St Andrews for the final night and frog watching. There we had a nice lunch followed by a trip to the Victoria Park to see some of the endemic birds its known for, as well as (more importantly) the children’s playground with spinny toy things. From there, we went cargills to wait in line for some Kome crackers.

The frog walk was very eventful, we saw a critically endangered point endemic frog right off the bat, followed by some hourglass frogs shown below.

During the frog walk we also saw a big Huntsman, a Toad, two other kinds of frogs (whose names have left my mind) and a Rhino Horned lizard.

By the end of the walk we were absolutely freezing our butts off as it was 16 degrees. Needless to say we sprinted back to the hotel and plunged into the shower, only to discover that there was no hot water, only absolutely freezing cold glacier water which wasn’t nice or expected at all. Following the freezing shower, I ran down to the hot fire in the lobby to warm up. Dinner was pretty nice but what was better was the sleep, next to the heater, in a nice bed. That really capped off the trip. From there, we just hurried back to Colombo the next morning and got there before 5.

The last couple days were really outstanding, visiting the renowned Horton Plains, staying at St Andrews, visiting Victoria Park, the whole mix was just a really phenomenal end to the WWW experience. However it didn’t come without its challenges, the biggest of which was perseverance, either through the grueling Horton Plains trek, the icy temperatures the last night, and long, arduous car rides just to meet that end goal, a world class view, critically endangered frogs, unique ecosystems and biodiversity, it was all worth it-perhaps the greatest lesson we learned during the trip, how valuable nature is and the virtue of patience. Something that translates nicely into the DP.

The trip was filled with themes like comradery (watching people fall and not laughing too hard), obviously perseverance, learning new skills, open-mindedness etc. The trip also gave us unique insight to the highly localized ecosystems and biodiversity, learning about things like cloud forests and human impact on amphibians which are invaluable to an ESS student such as myself. But yeah, overall a great trip and learning experience. Recommend 10/10 even if your not the biggest fan of hiking because the view is more than worth it.

 

 

Highlands Trip (Day 1-2)

 

Day 1: 

The trip began with the slamming of a van door and a decent sleep through traffic until our 1/4ish of our trip, marked by a stop at a road-side restaurant for some brunch. Up till that point it was all just highways and the usual highway scenery. It continued like that for a fair bit until we got to the hills. For some of us that marked the point where the nice straight road turned into a beautiful scenic route, straight out of national geographic. For others of us it marked our descent into anarchy, and motionsickness. Luckily I managed to sleep through most of it. By 12:30 we had reached the point of liftoff to the rest of our trip. This was where we had lunch and then went into our first hike through the patty fields.

Credit Pep

 

 

After about 3 hours and only one leech attack (to me, others were not so fortunate) we arrived at Kinchingune, our camp for the night. After showering up, eating some dinner and a can of chile-lime pringles, it was time for sleep. Lucky for us, our beds had some nice rods through them which ensured peaceful, non troubling sleep.

 

Our campsite

 

Day 2:

We woke up with cramped backs and rumbling stomachs. Brekfast was some delicious porrige and bread (for me so I wouldn’t puke it up on the chaotic 40 minute drive to the hike site). The objective of this hike was to see two of the highest waterfalls in Sri Lanka, and hopefully swim in the second one. The first waterfall was pretty underwhelming as waterfalls go but the cool water vapor being shot out was more than worth it. Unfortunately we observed our first global issue of the trip here; pollution.

The first waterfall

There was plastic bags, bottles cans etc. all spilling into the waterfall basin causing a really disturbing image. Luckily, the rest of the hike had no such pollution. At first we went through an evergreen pine forest littered with pinecones, pine needles and slippery rocks. We hiked along that trail for about 20 minutes before we saw a clearing up ahead, looking out on a magnificent view.

 

The view

A giant wasp nest we saw

A smiling Liam

 

The rest of the hike was through a large grassy plain on a steep hill until we got to the forested creek area which led up to the waterfall. We parcoured across the stream to a large rock where we had some snacks, namely Hawaian Cookies. After the quick break we changed and jumped into the water. The water was so incredibly cold that it warmed you up, it hurt like getting punched in the gut. Once we got used to it it was pretty nice though. The water basin was about 10 feet deep and smooth edged. Some vines hung down into the water on the left side. We paused for a group picture, changed and then headed back to the vans.

Mapped 2nd Day Hike Credit: Ms. Kamila

Credit: Pep

 

From the hiking launch point the car trip to our hotel was about an hour.

 

 

 

 

After eating lunch we drove to lipton seat. There we climbed the hill, saw old lipton and his humongous hands and then had some really delicious samosas, roti and this dahl peanut ball and treacle thingie. Back at the hotel we were assigned to rooms showered up, played on the playground for a bit as other people showered. Then we ate dinner, wrote refliections and headed off to sleep.

 

Learning objectives of the first 2 days:

The most obvious outcome achieved was perseverance, as we had to endure (persevere if you will) through long car rides on less than nice roads, which is a struggle for me. This taught us patience as we would always be driving to see something new and mostly worth the drive. We also persevered through, leech infested patty fields, long and tiresome hikes and beds that we weren’t comfortable in. Ultimately, these first couple days really were about teaching us the value of nature, going out of our city lives to see the countryside.

We also had to be openminded and optimistic, elsewise the horrible car journeys would have been unbearable, pessimism leading us to lose sight of what the trip was about (exploring the country). We also had to have open palates as the food we ate was new. This wasn’t so much a struggle as it was delicious but still trying a new food can be a challenge for some people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing and Habitat on Thursdays

The last two weeks our service group, Housing and Habitat, have been developing sustainable ideas for the future of the group. Coming out of Covid, many of the collaborations and activities previously done in HH have come under scrutiny, for example the Home Run. Because of this, as well as realizing that somewhere along the path, the group has strayed away from the hands on experience HH is supposed to be, we have spent our service periods firstly introducing new members and secondly coming up with ideas for the future, emphasising the sustainable side of things so that we can further benefit a group of people.

New members coming into our group also gave us the opportunity for new skillsets, in 3d modeling, planning etc. Our group has a strong new core which will enable us to help more people, better.

Some ideas we came up with are collaborating with NGOs, other services, setting up something like a service day where the OSC community can help out as well as building some kind of entertainment system for less fortunate kids, something like a foosball table. Any ideas that you may have feel free to email me at [email protected] or just comment below.

Une Galette de pêche

In french class we are encouraged to make cas posts integrating french and french culture with CAS. For this post I chose to make a galette I found, based off an old music video/childrens book I remembered from my early french years (called roule galette).

 

Un peu moche à la fin mais ils ont eu un goût délicieux.

En classe, lors d’une discussion sur le CAS, nous avons été invités à créer une sorte d’objectif créatif lié au français pour l’année suivante. Ayant vécu dans le pays francophone du Sénégal, j’ai immédiatement pensé à faire un Yassa Poulet ou une Thieboudienne, mais plus tard dans le mois, après que ma mère m’ait dit d’essayer d’utiliser un sac de pêches lyophilisées, j’ai pensé à faire une galette, quelque chose que je connaissais grâce à la chanson et au livre Roule Galette de Natha Caputo. En utilisant la liste des ressources françaises qui nous a été donnée en classe, j’ai trouvé une recette à suivre (https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/peach-plum-galette) et j’ai terminé le tout en moins d’une heure. Cette production créative m’a permis de réaliser que l’intégration du français dans ma vie de tous les jours n’est pas aussi difficile que je le pensais et que j’ai l’intention d’aller de l’avant de façon plus régulière.

 

 

Recycling Mini Excursion

To cap off our resource management unit in geography, our class participated in a multiday recycling exercise starting with sorting waste (in the recycling room at the school) and then taking a trip to a recycling center nearby (Pelowatta scrap center), where we sold our sorted recyclables for adding to the recycling service group budget.

This proved to be a learning experience for all of us, learning several things, that you can be payed for your waste if you’re willing to make an effort and what things can be recycled and what cannot, for example tissue papers cannot be recycled, and this particular center did not recycle shredded paper however cardboard is recyclable and they will therefore offer a fixed price  of Rs30 per kg for it. This price fluxuates over time and is not constant.

 

The current rates are stated below in SLR per KG

 

Weighing assorted cardboard boxes and other recyclables Credit: Thevuni

The short, 1kmish walk from school to the recycling shop  Credit: Thevuni

Plastic bottle: 40

Copper: 650

Aluminium: 100

Beer can (individual): 40

Battery: 100 for big 50 for small

Book (individual): 10

Cardboard: 30

 

 

 

 

 

Because we sorted 39kg of cardboard waste (shredded paper was not exchanged) we had a total profit of Rs1,170, which may not seem like a lot, but once considering weekly nature of what this service usually is and the somewhat spontaneous nature of this particular excursion, we can prove how much revenue you can get back from simply recycling your garbage.

 

DP Science Trip/Orientation

 

Bonding exercises in the river Credit: Wade

Campfire sing along and reflection time Credit: Wade

Rafting Credit: Wade

 

Combining DP Science trips and orientation, we went to Kithulgala for 3 days and two nights, sleeping with nature and apparently pit demons (whip scorpions). The trip was really fun, and contained new experiences for me such as visiting a hydroelectric power station and canyoning.

Whip Scorpion next to my bed

Day 1: IB orientation day, we went white water rafting and canyoning. This was my first time canyoning and was also a period where we as a grade were forced to bond with each other. Before each rock slide or jump, there would be someone in our grade standing, waiting to guide people onto the right line in the slide or the right angle to jump at, really making it so you would have to trust that person. Coming out of the trip-directly a result of this, we were closer as a grade.

Day 2: Science day 1, we went to the power station and as an ESS student, observed the biodiversity and differentiation of species, taking pictures for identification on iNaturalist. Later in the day, we went to the tropical rainforest.

Day 3: Our final day was spent hiking to a nearby cave featuring a couple of ruins as well as something of a bat cave. In order to get there we had to go through what felt like a fellowship of windy roads, high falls and beautiful mountains, something that a lot of people in our class struggled with. After about 25 minutes we arrived-to the start of the hiking trail. The hike was about 20 minutes, first through the tea plantation and accompanying school and then through the rain forest and the two streams (where we hoped to see some rare frogs). Upon getting there, the first thing that we noticed was the stark change in temperature between cool and drafty cave vs the humid rainforest. There was also a bunch old ruins scattered around the base of the overhang. After returning to the camp for a final lunch, we packed up and headed home.

 

The biggest point of growth during this trip for me was getting over not so much a fear as the irrational feeling when a leech sucks your blood. This is mainly because I just accepted that the leeches were going to be there and learned how to take them off. My classmates who had the unfortunate experience of being next to me the first day can attest to the complete and utter chaos that followed me discovering a leech as well as the violations of the geneva convention that followed it. While I cannot say that I’m proud of what I did during the first day, I can say that I’m proud of me getting over my fear and hope in the future using this knowledge I can help other people who also have that same fear.