During the break between session II and session III, students, in addition to figuring out their independent study venues, also have pursued various activities and participated in social events. Having acquired some practical experience of playing cricket, one day, they decided to treat themselves to a cricket match held between Sri Lanka and England. Another day, they took a rigorous hike up to Hantana hills. Following are some of the testimonies of their various pursuits.
Sarah, Haven, and Katie (the Bowala neighborhood girls) on their walk to school.
The Sri Lankan team bowling over England's batsmen. Sri Lanka won the match in a close contest after a five day battle.
Nick and Will Cole blowing out their birthday candles.
Fiona, Sarah & Will Cole on top of Hantana.
Fiona and Ruth on their hike down Hantana, a mountain in Kandy.
As it is every year, this year’s group showed interested in a wide variety of topics for their Independent study projects. Some traveled widely to collect information for their projects while others went to stay in some remote villages to study and interview people. A few stayed behind but traveled in and around Kandy to do their research work. Wherever they located during this time, they all got to use their Sinhala skills and truly immerse in the local culture. It was a time of both personal growth as well as academic development.
After they returned and settled in from their journeys the student group wrote their essays and gave their oral presentations on the following topics.
Reinterpreting the Gradual Path: Meditation in a Globalize World; The Queen Bee: Charisma, Disease, and the Power of Demons; In Search of the Sri Lankan Potter; The Snare of Mara: Women in Sri Lankan Buddhist Monastic Life;The Worth of Water: Traditional Water Values and Modern Well Irrigation in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka; Clinical Experiences of Pregnancy: Gender, Fragmentation and Power; Angampora: Sri Lanka's Martial Art; The Priest, The Patient, and the Head Cap: Investigating Ayurvedic Mental Healing in Modern Sri Lanka;The Women Behind the Wax: Exploring the Craftsmanship and artistry of the Sri Lankan Batik Industry; Higher Education in Nuwara Eliya; Interfaith Communion or Subtle Evangelism? The Catholic Church in Bibile;Sri Lanka's Approach to Prison Life and Rehabilitation.
Haven kicks off day one of presentations with her Independent Study topic of water management.
Will Olson delivers his research findings about Ayurvedic mental healing.
Jackie showcases her batiks - she made everything displayed, including her clothing!
Nik shows off some of his Angampora moves - a traditional Sri Lankan martial art.
Katie lectures on modern day meditation practices.
Will Cole demonstrates some of his Independent Study discoveries in faith healing, using Will Olson and Nik as victims.
THE FINAL TEA:
The final tea ceremony was not just a celebration but a time for the students to thank their host families and to share fond stories of their time spent together over the past few months. Taking help from their host parents, many of the students wore traditional Sri Lankan clothes for the celebration and this turned out to be a great opportunity for many group photographs.
Sarah and her amma at the final tea.
Will Cole, and his family.
Nik pictured (sporting national dress) with his amma and appachi.
Paige and Jackie arrive looking ravishing in their saris.
Fiona and her family arrive at the center.
Katie and her family.
Ruth with her amma and nungi arrive for the final tea.
Haven, her mallis, and amma.
Pausing for a smile while pouring their families some tea.
Grinnell: No Limits.
Sumanisena and Will Olson in a parting shot.
Director Larry thanks the families and concludes the 2007 program.
After the final tea ceremony many of the students ventured on one last trip together.
This trip was a hike to the Adam's Peak. Adam’s Peak, also known as Sri Pada, is a holy location for various religious groups such as Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The Buddhists who make the pilgrimage up the mountain do so to visit what they believed to be the Buddha's footprint in stone on the top of the peak. Traditionally, pilgrims start their hike late at night to arrive on the peak in the early hours to watch the sunrise at the summit. We had seven students brave the climb this year and they were treated with clear skies and beautiful sunrise.
The Adam's Peak adventurers set to begin the ascent, around 1am.
Group shot at the top: Paige, Haven, Ruth, Will, Anna, Fiona, & Nik.
Fiona at sunrise.
The men pontificate as the first rays of dawn light the peak.
The Adam's Peak hiking crew on the decent.
Heading down after sunrise.
Paige all tuckered out from the hike.
After packing and saying final farewells, the students left for the airport. Some of the students returned to the States while others went off to travel in India and China.
“Don’t be afraid to walk around by yourself—in fact, make sure to experience aspects of Sri Lanka on your own. Enjoy the challenges Sri Lanka brings, and remember to breathe and go with the flow.”
---2007 ISLE Student
(More photos on Photo Gallery page.)