Ampara was the first district we arrived at in the Eastern Province. Our accommodation was taken care of by Arzath and Ashfaque, two members on the Road Trip who are from Ampara. We arrived there on the 1st of November, in the night. We heard that due to the rain, some of the roads in the district had been flooded, but regardless we made plans for the next day hoping for the best.
The next day, the weather conditions proved favourable, and we managed to visit two schools and conduct assemblies there. At Akkaraipattu Central College, the Principal was very interested in the cause and also attended the workshop we held later in the day. We also visited Bandaranayake Balika Vidyalaya, which was one of the few Sinhala schools in the district.
Later in the day, we had a workshop at Zahira College, Kalmunai which is the Alma Mater of our members from Ampara. The fact that the boys of Zahira College had mopped up the entire place after the flood, just so that we could conduct the workshop was very touching and encouraging. The workshop had a very good attendance, and was an immense success.
There were some interesting aspects about the workshop, out of which the most noteworthy one was the participation of a Muslim Girls schools, namely Al-Marjan Muslim Ladies College. Coming from a very conservative background, it was a very pleasing sight to see the Muslim girls come forward to answer questions and to get involved in the Forum Theatre. We did make some alterations to our normal Forum Theatre and Workshop Games, to make it easy for them to identify with and also to put them at ease. These changes worked out well in most cases, which contributed greatly to the success of the workshop.
The Road Trip definitely helped expand our roots in Ampara, and we can expect much more involvement from this district in the future.