Thursday, January 24, 2008
I was most pleased to note this week that in my local town, computer and English classes are offered free of charge to local kids at the Buddhist temple in Hingurakgoda. One of my neighbor's sons Aruna Sampath is one of them. It is him on my laptop two days ago, practising MS word. He started the course two months ago, and cycles to the classes after getting home from school and having a quick lunch.
Due to the immense competition for places for these courses, each school in the area has to select only a few students, and I discovered that the process of selection was not an aptitude test, but by just drawing a number, a lottery in other words.
After I spent an hour with this boy showing him a few things on the computer, the father of the boy came to me the next day, to thank me profusely for taking the time to show him how to navigate his way around. This father is a more a laborer than a farmer as he has less than an acre, and earns most of his income from husking coconuts for a local merchant. I learnt that this merchant determines the local coconut price, as he sets a price at which he buys and then he stocks in his large yard. He supplies the army camps in Minneriya, there are over a dozen of them. When orders come this man is hired to husk the coconuts.