Guests on a Crystal Serenity Cruise are used to luxury – sumptuous meals, elegant rooms, and impeccable service. This year Micato Safaris worked with Crystal Cruises in Sri Lanka to offer guests something a little different: a chance to get their hands a little dirty, make some friends, and give back. They jumped at the chance.
On March 25th, when docked at Colombo, an eager group of eighteen Crystal Cruise guests boarded a bus for the village of Lengala, in order to volunteer under the auspices of Sarvodaya (a Sri Lankan humanitarian movement). Upon arrival, they were presented with a traditional tea with all of the fixings. Then, it was time to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
Using supplies that the guests had funded through Sarvodaya prior to the trip, they began work painting the Home Science unit, the main hall and the library of the Lengala Village School. As they were painting, the locals brought them fresh coconut juice, and the village children couldn’t help but be a delight to the guests, laughing and chatting away.
After the day’s work was done, the children asked the guests for their addresses, so that they could write them and become their pen pals. To show their thanks, the children performed a beautiful and unexpected dance for the guests, and the principal of the school expressed his heartfelt gratitude. The village saw them off smiling.
Departing reluctantly, the guests returned to the ship glowing with the knowledge that they had made a difference in the lives of their wonderful new friends, thanks to the seamless work between Crystal Cruises and Sarvodaya, all facilitated by Micato Safaris.
This experience of voluntourism gave something special back to the guests and the Sri Lankan locals alike, something that will be thought of often, whether as a reminiscence upon entering a paint store or a school, or the receipt of a letter from a young pen pal, with a Sri Lankan postmark. The length of a trip abroad is finite, but the memories of new friends and good deeds done can last a lifetime.