By Nirukshi de Lanerolle
It has been always the case that when it comes to planning out a reunion, retreat or party for Emerge, I have always been the one to organize it. I was excited when Amanda told me to organize the retreat this year as well. As always, I looked for the best bargain, as I had a budget to work on; I looked online, at many budget hotels and got a good deal with one of the providers.
The dates were set; the two younger members in our team had not experienced going on the newly opened southern highway before. We arrived in Aluthgama where we had access to the river of Benthota and the sea. Last year, too, we went to a similar surrounding we were excited we would have the best of both.
On our way, we stopped at the newly built resting area on the highway. When we arrived at the hotel, we had a welcome drink, and, thereafter, we were invited to a scrumptious lunch. In the evening we had a dip in the sea and played a few board games. Then we had a meeting and Amanda praised and congratulated us for the amazing year we had. She was proud that we had mostly achieved our goals on the road map. We ended the meeting with a game, where we had to say something good about each other. It was so nice to hear the amazing things which were said!
Some of the things that struck me most were the following:
*Sithara said that Amanda Miss wass the one who made her a permanent staff, and always pushed her to achieve her goals.
*Udani mentioned that she was glad she was given the opportunity to join Emerge and that I have filled her void of being a mother to her and looked after her growth in the team.
*We all agreed that Udaya came into the organization and has worked efficiently and streamlined the accounting system; Amanda said she has been an immense support to her.
*All of us know that Iro is an amazing teacher and the girls love to hear her teach.
*We were pleased that Sithara and Udani have matured and are very professional in the work they do.
*Each of us mentioned that Amanda has been a strength to us all and we were happy that we could go to her at anytime with our needs and that she is always there for us, even though she is our Country Director.
*Last, but not least, I was touched when Udaya said that I have been a mother figure to all the girls we work for and that it was not easy. All the others agreed that I was a mother figure to them as well.
*I was so thankful that I was appreciated by the staff and we all felt very good and happy for what everyone said about each other.
The finale of trip was the Ringo ride we had on the river. We all remember the toss we had last year on the Banana boat ride and we made it very clear to the people who were taking us that it would not be repeated. While Sithara sat with her 5-month-old baby on the speed boat clicking away, we had the most enjoyable and exciting ride.
We came back home the next day after a relaxing retreat, we say a big Thank You to Emerge and Amanda for making this a possibility.