Visitors since January 2005: 875655

Phase 73

October to December 2017

On October 5, the 10th anniversary of his beloved wife’s death, Hermann-Josef Kreitmeir, father of Little Smile’s founder Michael Kreitmeir, was buried in the Bavarian Eichstätt. On the other side of the world, in the Sri Lankan mountain jungle, kids and child minders were praying together in commemoration of Lokuthaththa’s (big father) father.
In October Bawani became grandmother and sister Lucrece, Dhiviya’s former teacher, came from Kalmunai to wish the young mother all the best for this new phase in live. Finally, Dhiviya is one of the constantly growing group of former Little Smile kids who are mothers or fathers themselves now. No wonder: it is almost 20 years that the first children found shelter and a home in Mahagedara.
In a country, in which people tend to close their eyes when problems appear, you can only be successful in the long run with a huge amount of comprehension and an even bigger amount of patience. And so the Franciscan order gets a second chance from Michael Kreitmeir at the end of October. Once again, Little Smile provides “Dome-land” as social outstation for the Franciscans. The small but excellent tea plantation already hosted the Franciscans before, but three years ago, they had to give up.
At the beginning of November, the harvest of oranges and lemons started in Buttala. When wild elephants destroyed our banana and coconut plantations four years ago, we decided to cultivate oranges and lemons instead. A lot of work and an electric fence helped to bring a good harvest, which particularly pleased Monischa who loves oranges.
Our kids call Little Smile’s nature reserve the land of sleeping trees. While outside the reserve, you can no longer experience a tree’s natural life circle of growing and decaying because they are cut as soon as their wood promises profit, in our retreat power saws have no access. And so it takes many years until some of the giant trees fall down exhaustedly, others are uprooted due to heavy rain falls. Everywhere in “Little Smile for Nature” you can see that every ending is joined to a new beginning, because where a giant tree disappears it makes space for many young tree shoots growing towards the sun.
It is 12 years since Piumi left the children’s village. At the end of November, she visits Little Smile with her two children. For Michael Kreitmeir her kids are his grandchild no 111 and 112. The birth of grandchild no 500 will be celebrated with a big party, he promises.
For 14 years, Sashikala and Anoma had no idea who their parents were and where they came from – there were no relatives outside Little Smile so it seemed. At the beginning of December, an aunt appeared completely unexpected in Mahagedara. Finally, there was someone who could answer most of all these nagging questions: Who are my parents, why did they leave us, why did they never get in touch with us? Following the motto better late than never, the girls’ joy of having an aunt was bigger than the disappointment related to the many years of silence.
We are experts in romantic lighting at the children’s village, because practice makes perfect. Especially during the late rain season in December, there are many power cuts – sometimes for days. And so candles are part of the daily life and not only used at Christmas time.
Already in the middle of November Anka starts the shopping tours for Christmas in small groups of maximum 10 children. And because Anka’s taste differs from that of the children and gifts must not always be only practical and useful, the kids can spend a small part of their Christmas money as they please.
A Christmas tree – no problem in Little Smile. An entire pine forest on Hill Top right next to the boy’s home makes it difficult to choose. Therefore, each house gets its own tree. The vast selection surely has led the 11-year old Udara to the assumption that there is no need to be stingy and so she gives everything to pull the biggest Christmas tree to the Honest house.
On the Christmas market in the small Episcopal town of Eichstätt in the Altmühl valley, where the Little Smile association has its seat, there was a small tropical oasis set up with cinnamon, gloves, pepper and other aromatic spices from the children’s village. Three weeks long the members of the association resisted the chilly temperatures and thus showed their solidarity with the children’s aid organization in the remote Sri Lanka.
„Ihr Kinderlein kommet“. When we sing this German song in the mountain jungle of Sri Lanka its sound does not only fill the ears but also the hearts. The Christmas Mystery becomes perceptible at this very special place for children because at the children’s village there was always space for kids in need and will always be.
To celebrate Jesus’ birth at a place where more than one hundred kids have found not only a simple shelter, is something very special every year. In 2017, it was even more special and extra colorful since we got a big surprise: each child and each child minder got a teddy – a big one. 
Even the Holy Eve has an ending and it is time for the kids to go to bed, but there is one last wish with sleepy eyes: May I take my new best friend with me to bed? Naturally, since there is room even in the smallest hut or rather the smallest bed for true friends.
On the first Christmas day the bell tolls also for Lokuthatha. The kids proudly presented drawings and all kinds of self-made delicacies. The delicacies, however, were not really fit for consumption, even though they were made from Mahagedara’s good clay soil.
The list of problems and difficulties we had to overcome in 2017 is very long. Instead of support, we only met lies and intrigues from the public authorities. It seems that we are a pain in the neck of the public “child protectors” because our kids are happy. However, what counts for us in the end are the children and thanks to Little Smile they can laugh again and grow up protected and respected, something that does not seem to matter in state entities in which children are often only locked up and insufficiently looked after.
At the end of 2017 it is time for Anju to say good-bye. Thanks to Little Smile, she passed the examinations of the O-level, and since the situation of her family in the far away Colombo has improved a little, she will leave the Little Smile family after Christmas. It was a tearful departure. Farewell Anju and never forget what you have learned and lived here with us.