DP 1 Orientation

A needed leisure.

The DP 1 Orientation was in Kitulgala, Borderlands. DP had been overwhelming just in the first month, we were just surrounded with academics and assignments. We all really needed this break to be surrounded by nature and to appreciate it.

DP 1 Orientation:

Day 1 (29/08/18)
  • We went for rafting straight from the bus and we had a short introduction and tutorial.
  • Group: Virath Mr. Duncan, Arnav, Nehe, Milo
  • Getting dizzy and attempting to walk to the other side. Jumping off the raft in the river.
  • Canyoning
  • Floating back along with the river to camp
  • Reflecting
Day 2
  • Bus ride to hiking place
  • Hiking to the cave
  • 1st cave, memory map
  • 2nd cave, bats and creepy story
  • Hiking down, then up for abseiling
  • Abseiling first time in my life
  • Hiking down to bus, Rashmi falling on the way.
  • Reflecting
Day 3
  • Morning jog (Learnt that I have to work on my fitness)
  • Monk interview (With Anouk and Milo)
  • Lunch at camp
  • Bus ride back to OSC


Day 1:

We jumped on the bus early in the morning and as soon as we got there, we started rafting. The rafting was very enjoyable, like many of my classmates, it was my first time rafting. We went through rocks leveling 1 to 3, we tried to surf as a group on the raft. One thing I am very thankful for is staying stable as a group in the raft for the whole session because turning over would have been quite terrifying. We took a break halfway through our rafting where we jumped off the raft into the water. Watching other people jumping of the raft fearlessly aided me in building my courage and I was ready to do a flip which I had never even tried in my life. I didn’t know the form or the positioning, I had no idea how to do it but I had set my mind to achieve this minor goal on Day 1.  I ran up to the raft, left feet first then right, all I had to do now was jump and do the flip, it was that simple. I jumped. I hit the water face first and felt my body sinking down after my face. I hadn’t done the flip and actually just made a fool out of myself. Not many people were paying attention to my surprise and I was very grateful for that because that saved me a whole lot of embarrassment. 

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan. The moment before my great leap into the water.
Picture taken by Mr. Duncan. Class of 2020.

We went canyoning after the rafting and it was incredibly exhilarating. I tried to stay ahead so I could relax and float around in the water.

Picture taken by Mr. Lockwood. Group picture after canyoning.


Day 2:

We went on a bus ride to a hill. The ride was amazing, the views from the side of the road were breathtaking. It reminded me of Trinidad and Tobago and I was grateful for being there. We starting hiking and it was absolutely beautiful however now I was focusing more on my steps and trying not to fall so I couldn’t enjoy to views entirely.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan.


We arrived at the 1st cave and we all tried to draw a map of the way up to the cave using our memory and sense of perception. Our maps were horrible and inaccurate which showed how unreliable our senses and memory are.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan.


The 2nd cave we heard a story which made me wonder about how our lives can just be a shadow. It allowed me to look at our lives through a different perspective. The 2nd cave was hidden behind a lot of vegetation and a waterfall which created a beautiful landscape when seen from inside of the cave.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan. The way down to the 1st cave from the 2nd cave.

After the discussion in the cave, we went back down and took another route upwards. We were going to our abseiling spot. When we reached there, I sat with everybody trying to pay attention to the guide who was talking about the instructions for abseiling. Abseiling, abseiling. It’s just a word, just have to go down a couple of meters, it doesn’t even look that high. The excitement built up. A rush of courage and confidence flowed through my body. I knew I could do this because all I need to do is balance myself, that’s not too hard. Okay, let me just practice up here. I put the rope onto my harness, laid back and balanced myself. I was ready, it was that easy. I went fourth, after Disara, Rashmi and Taneishq. There were three ropes, three people could go at once. The rope was tied to the tree. The tree had to handle my weight? Now I started to worry, they hooked me up and before I knew it, I was standing at the edge of the waterfall.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan. Me worrying that I would fall down to my death.

I looked at the water rushing down through my socks and shoes. I looked helplessly back and forth from the guide and my rope. I kept my eyes busy with anything, so I wouldn’t have to look down. I let the rope drift through my right hand to my left hand and I fell lower. I start walking down backwards and I honestly felt like a spider. I finally knew how powerful spiders felt but no spider hesitates to look down. There was no one to my left or right, so there was no competition which I would have definitely created.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan. Me smiling after realizing it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

One thing I regret was not enjoying the view, I was focusing way too much on maintaining my balance. When I reached down, the pressure on my hips from the harness relieved. I lied on my back, the life jacket kept me just above the water, and I enjoyed watching other people struggle who were coming down. I wondered what might be going through their head while they were going through the same journey as me.

Day 3:

I already knew not to make assumptions but I did it unintentionally. The interview was a small reminder not to do that because leads me to have biased opinions. You need small reminders like such to keep you on track. I thought that the monk would have old-fashioned thoughts and he wouldn’t like the change happening in our area because of development. However, in our interview he said that he doesn’t really care about what people do, for example the changing hairstyles and fashion among the youth. He believed that they are free to do anything they like as long as they are happy and not harming others. He does want Buddhists to keep coming to the temple. A lot of the followers have stopped coming to the temple and the monk believes that they are drifting away from their religion which he is troubled about.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan. Interview with the monk.

It was a fun trip where i got to experience a lot of new things. Our grade had bonded through the small activities we did, supporting each other through the whole journey.

Picture taken by Mr. Duncan.

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