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© Still Waters International 2013

Volunteers and Visitors

Still Waters welcomes volunteers who are able to give at least two weeks to live and work at the Children’s Home in Tangalle.  The homes are set in fifteen acres of grounds bordering a lagoon and a short distance from the sea.  We will try to organise work that fits your skill mix, but you have to be willing to work with the staff team and help with the tasks that need to be done on any day.
We need folk who can teach English, basic computer skills, art and craft work, feeding and caring for animals and poultry and working on the fruit and vegetable garden.  There is always something for everyone to do, not least keeping the large grounds tidy.  There is a well-appointed guest house on the grounds and all meals are prepared in the main kitchen for children, staff and visitors.

A few testimonies from some volunteers and visitors:

Still Waters is a delightful place to visit. The hospitality is wonderful, the guest accommodation comfortable and the food delicious. The best part for us was the chance to get to know the children and to share in a daily act of worship with them. We didn’t speak the same language, but we certainly worshipped the same God! Having the opportunity to go with them all to the beach for a swim and to spend time playing with the younger children and helping the older children with their studies was especially rewarding. We felt privileged to be welcomed by and included in the daily lives of this big, extended family, even when it meant being woken up in the early morning to wave the children off to school!

We would recommend Stillwaters as a place to visit to anyone, whether you want to help out in the garden, relax in a hammock, or meet God through the smiling faces of everyone you meet there!

Jeremy and Helen tell of their experience:

Joan Whyman writes:

The occurrence of the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004, contributed in no small way to me completely rejecting the faith that had been a huge part of my life for the best part of fifty years. I found it impossible to reconcile my belief in a loving, compassionate God with one who could allow such suffering and destruction especially to children. During the next two years, through the help and wise counsel of our parish priest I was gradually convinced that actually visiting one of the Tsunami ravaged areas might bring about a change of thinking and that is when Still Waters Children’s Home in Tangalle entered the scene. During December 2007 and January 2008, at Fred’s kind invitation, I spent an amazing month staying in the guest house there. If I had had any lofty ideas about what I might bring to the children, they were quickly dashed, for the children offered me, far more than I did them. Their smiles, their easy acceptance and friendship, their charm, courtesy and willingness to offer help made a lasting in-road into my life and heart. I have such fond memories of shared laughter and halting conversation during sewing sessions, of walks by the lagoon with the boys picking flowers for me, of outings in the minibus with non-stop singing and sweet-corn as a treat and the guest house door-bell ringing at 7.00a.m to the chorus of ‘Good morning, Joan Aunty!’  

To them all, I attribute, with great gratitude my return to faith and a dream that one day I might revisit the life-giving, life-changing place that is Still Waters.

Andrew Edrupt writes:

As we turned off the Hambantota Road and passed the entrance gate, with palms swaying gently to welcome us, exotic fruits hanging invitingly from the sun stroked trees and a sleepy lagoon shimmering in the distance you might think we had been transported to our dream destination.

With the vast sandy Tangalle beach a short hop away, the setting could not have been better. However for Marcio's first visit and Andrew's second, the real reason for making the journey from London were none of these.

Emerging from all corners of the Still Waters estate over the next few hours were 23 smiling children expressing more than words need say their welcome in the warmest way imaginable.

Later on the first evening having been edified and refreshed with a wonderful mix of curry, lentils, vegetables and fruit, we joined the Still Waters family for what became the undoubted highlight of our visit - evening worship.

Its always encouraging and uplifting to share in the celebration of God's goodness with our brothers and sisters from different parts of the world. To hear the children break out into hearty singing reminded us that making a joyful noise to the Lord need not be in perfect tune! The kids desire to express their praise to God moved us greatly, and we were able to join in with This is the Day, in Sinhala, Medawa-Se.

This was followed by a Bible reading and prayer led by different children and after more worship songs in Sinhala, our turn to share. Thanks to Fred and Hilary, and with the help of Premalal, Fred's nephew, we taught some choruses that are familiar to us but were new to the Still Waters family. We took on a challenge to teach King of Kings and Father We Adore You in rounds, dividing the children into groups of 2 or 3.  They responded enthusiastically and we raised the roof on several more occasions.

Singing is not the only talent our hosts displayed, as we were treated to a delightful

Celebration of the home's 10th anniversary. Dance, drama, songs and intricate

costume changes presented a dynamic insight into Sri Lankan culture.  Food, fun

and fireworks followed as Tangalle witnessed a sparkling tribute to a wonderful work.

God has done great things at Still Waters, and we pray He will continue to bless and

Enrich lives as young people find the light of Christ in moments of darkness and replace

despair with hope and peace.

We were privileged to share a few days in the company of some special people and left overwhelmed by God's grace. We arrived planning to give our time and talents and departed receiving so much more than we could ever offer.
Forget the holiday brochures, if you want a really rewarding trip look no further than Still Waters.

Jos Williams from Cardiff, Wales writes:

I met Fred George on the flight from London to Colombo, and he told me about the Still Waters Project in Tangalle which is caring for children. I decided to visit the project and am impressed by the work going on there.

There is an atmosphere of calm that permeates the whole setup, and the children seem very happy to be there. If I could think of words to describe the ambience of Still Waters, I would have to look no further than tranquil and peaceful. It strikes me that this is a special place, somewhere where one can find time for a more spiritual existence.

I learn from Fred that there are people who have come to help out, who have had adverse personal experiences, and found healing and hope. Time for silence and space to explore one's inner thoughts are abundant in this oasis, and I hope that this project goes from strength to strength because my personal experience is that it delivers. All concerned with this project seem very calm and possess an inner serenity which is clear to behold. I will certainly keep in touch when back in the UK and see what I can do to fundraise. It is not outside the realm of credibility that I might return, if only for the peace and quiet it offers. Peace, strength and happiness to you all.
Thank you for the experience.

A Holiday with a Difference

Most holiday makers to Sri Lanka choose the sun, sea and sand option, staying in one of the many luxury hotels, spending most of the time in the resort with little exposure to the people and culture of Sri Lanka.

We can arrange a holiday with a difference in Sri Lanka.  You spend a week at the Children’s Home sharing the life of the Still Waters family, helping the staff with the daily tasks and joining with the children in study and play.  You have the opportunity to meet local people and see something of their life and community.  Week two could be a holiday at a beach resort in a budget hotel or a five day tour of the Island visiting the Yala game sanctuary, tea plantations and spice gardens, the hill capital of Kandy, the beautiful botanical gardens in Peradeniya, and the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela, before returning to Colombo.

Our staff in Colombo will make all the arrangements, and all you have to do is enjoy the experience.  All volunteers and holiday guests are invited to a briefing session in Barnet prior to departure for Sri Lanka.

Paul Beasley-Murray writes:


Some people call Sri Lanka ‘the tear drop of India’ because of its shape and location; others call it ‘the pearl of the Indian Ocean’ because of its amazing beauty.  I rather like the term ‘the nation of smiling people’, because this is such a true description of the warm-hearted inhabitants of Sri Lanka.  However, the smiles hide a good deal of sadness.  The after-math of the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, when over 35,000 people lost their lives just in Sri Lanka, is still very real.  Nor should we forget the civil war in Sri Lanka (1983-2009) when perhaps as many as 100,000 lost their lives.  For Christians, too, life continues to be tough.

Sadly most British tourists to Sri Lanka are largely unaware of their context.  They are simply there for the sea, sand, and sun – together perhaps with visit to an elephant sanctuary or some cultural sight.  Not that there is anything wrong with these things.  But a holiday can be so much more interesting when it actually involves meeting the people.

This was certainly true of our visit to Sri Lanka this year kindly organized for us by Fred George.  We told him that we wanted six days by the sea, and six days doing the sights, but we also wanted to meet the people.

In particular we wanted to spend six days at ‘Still Waters’, a children’s home just a mile or so outside the seaside town of Tangalle. And what an eye-opener that was!  Currently there are 42 children, aged for the most part between 5 and 16 (because of lack of resources they do not normally accept younger children).  Some of these children have no parents – others have perhaps a father or a mother who cannot cope with looking after children.  Many of the children have been abused; many have suffered rejection; in one way or another they have all experienced a good deal of pain and trauma in their lives.  But at Still Waters these children receive love and care in abundance.  Without exaggeration they become one happy family.  The children view themselves as brothers and sisters to one another.  Yes, there is still pain – while we were there we saw one young girl in floods of tears having just been left by her mother.  But for the most part there is laughter and happiness – we saw it in their eyes.

Compared to some of the hotels we stayed in during the rest of our trip, the accommodation at Still Waters was fairly basic – but more than adequate. The guesthouse has a large lounge and dining area, and also four en-suite bedrooms.  Although there were fans; it was very hot and sticky there.  So it didn’t matter that there was no hot water – the cold water shower seemed warm!  The one thing we found difficult to cope with was the frogs which appeared every evening in our bathroom.  Fortunately, Mahinda, the Manager who was looking after us, developed a ‘frog ministry’ and every night cleared out the frogs.  We had our breakfast and evening meals in the guest house – and were supplied with food in abundance!  Morning and evening there was curry and dahl, and a host of other foods, too (fish, sambol, roti, toasted bread) and fruit in abundance – we particularly liked the small sweet bananas, the papaya and the pineapple.

There were plenty of opportunities to interact with the children.  Every morning three girls came to make tea for us!  They also brought meals for us and did the washing up!  We were given a tour of the boys and girls houses.  The children put on a concert for us – two of the dancers were particularly talented.  We played musical chairs with them – Caroline would have won, had not one of the young boys swiped the chair!  We went swimming with the children one morning at the town beach.  It was wonderful to see the children so happy. One evening we gave them all ice creams – which they seemed to enjoy!  And in addition every day we attended evening prayers. One limiting factor was that most of the children did not know much English.  However, Fred and Hilary George were on hand to explain – and that made all the difference.

We ended up in Colombo, where we worshipped at the historic Cinnamon Gardens Baptist Church – a real highlight for me!

Yes, in August 2013 we had a ‘holiday with a difference’  which we could warmly commend to anyone.

A Day at Still Waters Children’s Home - 31st January 2016 by Ann M.W. Hambly (Links with Isabella Peatfield Charity)

Eight hours at Still Waters Children’s Home in Tangalle left both Paul and me feeling humble and having the recognition of what can be achieved by a few in such difficult situations.

We arrived at the home at midday,  just in time to see two groups of children, one dressed totally in white and one dressed in colourful clothes returning from Sunday Schools; those dressed in white had been to the Buddhist Temple and those in colourful clothes had been to Church.  The children were aged from 5 years (the youngest age to enter the orphanage) to 18 years.  They had been at Sunday School for the morning and were walking home so calmly and happily together.

Paul and I were so well looked after at Still Waters and had the chance to be included in all activities and have such fun with the children. The memories will last from the 18 year old who would be taking her ‘A’ levels in 2017 (all linked with ICT; Technology and Engineering). She hoped to go to university to study Bio-Medical Engineering and was clearly so focused, so motivated yet able to respond positively and happily to all of her necessary responsibilities whilst ensuring she took advantage of all that was on offer. Then there were the children who played cricket; volley ball and football with us; the children playing on the playground, confirming how well it had been used; the walk to the lagoon in the garden; the time when we were entertained by the children dancing and singing and the time which allowed them to draw with the varied packets of crayons that we had brought for them.

Yes, of course the children became excited; of course they were lively but they were always kind and supportive of each other. They and the home itself celebrated the success of the children.  Trophies and sports medals were on display.  All were happily able to show us their work and tell us of their successes.

Then once we had reached 6:30pm it was Prayer Time.  Children, of all ages and denominations, came into the main room and sat on the floor.  The service lasted about half an hour and included prayers; singing; listening to the preacher; children of all ages volunteering to sing solos and accompany the singing from the drums.  What was so noticeable was that everyone was supportive of each other.  All were clapped; all efforts were appreciated.  Adults did not always have to be present.  The children were clearly a team who appreciated and respected each other.  A very happy place to be.

Giuliana and Farshid write:

“Over the years we have followed the development of Still Waters with a lot of interest with the dream of one day being able to visit ourselves. This spring (2017) our dream came true and with the help of Hilary and Fred we arranged a visit to Sri Lanka and Still Waters.

We were met at the airport by one of the most kind and patient men we have ever known, Premalal, and with his help we had an amazing holiday in Sri Lanka with the added bonus of spending two nights at Still Waters

I have never had such a welcome in my whole life – so many smiling faces and flowers, which moved me to tears.  After so long we could meet these wonderful children and the people who have made such a difference to their lives.

Volunteers are expected to raise funds to cover their travel and board.  If you would like to help, please contact us and we will give you further information on costs and how to obtain the best fares.

We enjoyed the evening prayer and singing with them. They were very open and immediately became our friends. They danced for us and with us. The atmosphere was that of a real family and the love there was so tangible.

The food we ate there was tasty, varied and plentiful.

The following day we accompanied the children to a nearby beach.  We loved playing in the sea with them and having an ice cream afterwards.

We have come back full of praise for the work that is being done at Still Waters and want to continue to support the project as much as we can.”