It was a bright Tuesday morning and the air was rife with excitement as The Senior Station members eagerly clambered into the coach that took us to Negambo for our much awaited trip. Dolly and Priyanthi did a quick head count and then with a loud hip hip hooray we set off! Out came the guitar and tambourines, and soon everyone was clapping their hands and swaying to our favourite tunes. A picnic must always begin with something sweet. So first we tucked into delicious milk toffee, then came Priyanthi’s signature brownies, followed by biscuits, sweets, mixtures, chocolates and so much more. You can imagine that we were in really high spirits when we arrived at Camelot Beach Resort. A quick visit to our rooms to refresh ourselves after which, we gathered on the lawns under the shade of a coconut grove for our morning session of fun and games – A lucky draw with grand prizes, a Wrapping The Mummy competition, a Water Relay and the Balloon Dancing Game. It must have been a combination of the cool sea breeze and all the fun activities, because when lunch was announced, we were all starved. And what a spread we were treated to! It was a leisurely lunch with the only concern being what we should choose from the vast buffet counter. We would have loved to linger on a little longer but Claude, who had his eye on the time, had everything arranged for the next round of activities. Soon we all took our seats in the pavilion by the pool, and began chatting and joking when Sheila clutched her stomach and begun moaning uncomfortably. The Senior Station team jumped to their feet. Did we have a crisis on our hands?! ‘’Ooh’’ Sheila squealed, “It’s been such a hard year long pregnancy. I think I am at the end of my last quarter!” That was the prelude to the most hilarious skit scripted and enacted by Sheila along with Claude, Farook and Raja who played the 3 doctors that delivered the ‘bonnie little donkey’. The next item on the agenda was the masquerade competition in which members chose from a range of props and paraded around the pavilion. The winner, hands down, was Chandrika who did a little cameo of a village drunk. Chandrika is always so quiet, and it was wonderful to see her in such great form. There were more games, more pranks, more laughter – but alas all good things must come to an end. So at about 4.00 p.m. tea was served and we prepared to leave. It was 42 happy hearts that boarded the coach back to Colombo. ‘’This has been our best trip ever. We want more!”was the rallying cry. We at The Senior Station couldn’t agree more.
This week at The Senior Station we celebrated all the memories and experiences that have made our lives so special. The program this week was conducted by Hasini Haputhanthri, a Museologist, and Malathi de Alwis, an Anthropologist. They, along with Munira Mutaher, a member of the Memory Culture Team at GIZ, are compiling a book entitled The Archive of Memory which will portray a people’s history of the past seven decades post-Independence. The book will be a collection of memories that are connected to personal objects, and which relate to significant events in Sri Lanka.
Hasini, Malathi and Munira kicked off the program by playing old popular hit songs and asking the members to recall the names of the songs, singers and year in which they were released. The three of them were quite bowled over because not only did the members know most of the answers, they even belted out the lyrics. After that foot tapping session came a visual quiz that took members back in time to significant events from Sri Lanka’s history, popular old haunts like Fountain Cafe and brands that were an intrinsic part of life such as Two Elephants Safety Matches.
The members then listened to dramatised readings of stories that are already a part of The Archive of Memory, before they were invited to share their own personal experiences. We’d like to thank Nihal, Sriani, Claude, Priyanthi, Deepthi, Swini, Chandrika and Farook who shared with us such touching tales from their past. It almost felt like they were making us a part of their lives!
Viva Italia. Our members were treated to all things Italian today. The room was decorated with Italian flags and posters of exotic places in Italy. Allegra Baistrocchi from the Italian Embassy, her mother, Julia and Allegra also from the Embassy delighted us with their presence.
Nisrin’s exercises was done to soothing Italian music which set the ambience for the day. We next had Tony Fernandez teaching our members how to fox trot, cha cha and waltz. The ever-willing volunteer Mary was the first on the floor, with the others quickly joining in and dancing oh so gracefully with decorated masks on. Tony then did a wonderful demonstration of the Tango.
Our fist quiz for the day was a travel board game. Printed on the map of Italy was a start and finish point with questions related to Italy. Players in each team played against each other.
Armchair travel takes people to faraway places without leaving home and this was our next item. The well-known Travel personality Sherebanu Fazleabas from the US did a fabulous video presentation of a travel itinerary to Italy. We travelled to Rome, the picturesque Tuscany, the artistic city of Florence, and Venice, the city of Gondolas. Our Seniors were deeply enthralled in this presentation and had many questions for Allegra and Sherebanu.
Our next quiz was to find out how much they gathered from the presentation. And of course all teams came out with flying colors having scored a full 100 marks.
Our members enjoyed the photo booth where they were able to take photos against posters of different cities in Italy. We like to thank the Italian embassy for the beautiful posters given to us for this purpose.
Satisfying our hunger pangs was next on the agenda. Our very own Asamptha put together an amazing salad drizzled with Italian dressing which was served with lasagna. And to top it off we had Allegra giving us a delicious homemade gourmet Tiramisu for dessert.
Thank you, Allegra, Tony, and Sherebanu for all your efforts and contribution at our Senior Station today.
It was a long day and time for everyone to bid “arrivederci”, good bye until we meet again the next Tuesday.
We would like to thank Munni whose irrepressible energy, heart-warming smile and charm worked like magic at The Senior Station. We played a game of songs today, in which each team had to think of song which they sang as soon as the other team stopped. There was Munni, cheering everyone and prompting the members to get them going. The game got quite challenging as we went along, and underlying all the clapping, cheering and tapping of feet was a strongly competitive edge. Munni, Sheila and Nihal then put up a crazy performance with the song –‘She gave me kisses one, two and three’ which had everyone hooting and cheering wildly.
We’d also like to that Sajeda for her exercise routine which again got everyone feeling nicely stretched and flexed. Thank you Ambrosia for the delicious mocha cake given to us to celebrate the July birthdays.
Mental puzzles and games apart, The Senior Station also announced the upcoming annual trip, for which everyone is really excited!
‘I am feeling just fine’ said a beaming Chaya. The doctor had just given her a thumbs up during a health check conducted at The Senior Station. We would like to thank Dr. Manouri Samarakoon who heads Health Scan, a reputed private clinic, for sending in her team to run a general medical check-up for the members of The Senior Station. Members were given a blood pressure and random blood sugar test. They were also assessed for their Body Mass Index. The doctor then spent time with each member individually, pointing out red flags and talking to them about how they could improve their indicators.
Of course all these conversations about health and well-being, also came with our weekly dose of exercises, puzzles, interactive games and loads and loads of cheers!
Whiffs of fragrant incenses beckoned everyone to The Senior Station as we celebrated the festival of Eid. Everybody got on to the floor wishing each other Eid Mubarak! The simple act of reaching out to each other with a smile and handshake immediately brought on a sense of cheer among the members. Nisrin combined some upbeat tunes to her exercise session and we were now all in the mood for a celebration.
We started the Eid special with traditional almond stuffed dates which were made by Dolly and served up on a tray beautifully decorated by her. Then we listened to Mary recount her childhood memories of Eid and how those celebrations have changed over the years.
There were many surprises in store for the members today – First was a song performance by the organisers; and of course Banin had everyone absolutely mesmerised by her sweet voice. The next surprise was a real treat. Masuma offered to do henna designs for the members. All the ladies excitedly approached her while she created exotic patterns on their hands. Indeed, it was all hands on the table while everyone posed for pictures.
Festivals are always accompanied by shopping sprees. So we played a version of ‘The Price Is Right’ today– There were a range of products up for grabs, and anyone who guessed the price right got the product as a prize! Bids flew wildly across the room, along with loud cheers each time somebody got a prize.
Finally it was time for the grand finale. A mouth-watering meal that included popular Eid treats – Biryani, mango curry, acharu, samosas and crunchy jalebis. We all tucked in amid warm conversations and happy jokes. Another memorable day at The Senior Station!
Our big challenge for The Senior Station this week was Pictionary – The game of drawing clues so that team mates can guess what the given word is. It took a bit of trial and error before everybody figured out creative ways of drawing and deciphering the clues. Soon the pace of the game picked up and a highly competitive mood set in, with teams racing to guess the answers first.
We also did a bit of lateral thinking with a set of riddles which compelled everyone to read between the lines to find hidden clues. Then there was a variation of Queen of Sheeba which also was a team activity. The consensus is that teams at The Senior Station find it easier to work with each other, as members, over the past four months, have bonded over shared activities and experiences. This is after all, one of the main goals of The Senior Station!
Today’s session at The Senior Station was dedicated to all the wonderful mothers who have touched us with their tender loving care. We started out with recalling our own mothers – a funny incident about them, or cherished memory, perhaps a song they sang or dish that was prepared. It was a happy walk down memory lane for us all.
Among other activities, we also ran a Mother’s Day quiz in which members were asked to identify famous mothers from around the world. That, along with another quiz on the heads of state of different countries showed how in touch with current affairs our seniors are. The final activity for today was a poem writing competition which was conducted in groups. Teams had to craft a poem and the theme again was our mothers. We’ve seen before how creative our seniors are in making things with their hands. Their ability to play with words is outstanding.
It was a touching day indeed, and we ended it by gifting each mother with a card signed by all the organisers and a heart shaped chocolate.
The Senior Station sessions started today after a three week break – And while we all had a great holiday, we were just as eager to regroup. Sajeda Akbarally had everyone in action with her pumped up exercise session.”How about a small break” piped up Claude who is always happy to play truant; but she gave him her inimitable, hard to resist smile and said, “I’m sure we can do one more round.” We all felt nicely worked out after the routine that ended with a loud cheer.
A new innovation at The Senior Station is to encourage members to share their skills with each other. Today Dolly Galely demonstrated the fine art of gift wrapping. She showed us how silver foil, colourful tissue paper and ribbon could be twisted and curled with amazing effect. Dried flowers and other embellishments were creatively used to make a range of interesting packages. Then the members were given empty boxes and a variety of wrapping material to come up with their own wonderful creations. So the next time you receive a gift from a Senior Station member you can be assured it will look good!
Today was also a celebration the birthdays in May – Chandrika and xxxxx cut a delicious chocolate cake from Ambrosia which was really finger licking good. It was lovely to see their happy smiles while all their friends sang and wished them well. Oh it’s so good to be back!!
Suba Aluth Avurudak wewa was the chant on everyone’s lips as we started our special celebration for the Sri Lankan New Year. Two little girls Anasha and Zainab paid tribute to all the elders by greeting them with a bulath leaf. Then Nihal , Shiela , Hatim, and Indrani who have attended almost every session of The Senior Station lit the traditional oil lamp on behalf of all the other members.
Now it was time for the session to begin. Our usual exercise session took an upbeat note with some baila music. Sheila cannot be held back when there is music. She soon took to the floor with her incredible dance steps and had other members shaking a leg too.
We had special Avurudu games lined up for today – A jumble word quiz with a twist, because the answers were names of traditional Avurudu foods. Teams then had to send in their representatives for the bun eating competition and pin the tail to the donkey quest. There were hoots and cheers in the air as the teams battled it out.
There was a challenge from the members for The Senior Station organisers to also play the pin the donkey game. Shahnaz was blind-folded and put to the task. Little did she know that the cheeky members turned the donkey upside down and she ended up pinning the tail to the donkey’s hoof.
The last challenge for the day was a garland making competition; and while the creative hands were at work, Farook, Claude, Raja, Nilhan, Indrani and Shiela made the tables their drums and regaled us with lovely folk songs. In the midst of laughter and song our Avurudu Kumarayas and Kumari paraded the beautifully crafted garlands for all to see.
After all that fun and frolic everyone indulged in kiribath, hakuru, kokis, konda kavum and many other delicious Avurudu treats which were all beautifully laid out. The Senior Station will close till May 8th 2018. But what lovely memories to take with us through the holidays.