Two mentored and two mentors have arrived to us in the afternoon of the 2nd of August: Gergő, Pál Vaskuti’s son, and Gergő’s girlfriend are the mentors. Kornél came here to rid himself of his addiction to medical pills that developed because of his sleep disturbances, severe anxiety and depression. Also with us is László, who is leaning towards suicide.
The newcomer mentored are both 19 years old, which means that two adults came here for the therapy. This change has it’s effect on the rest of the mentored (12, 15 and 17 years old): the first days of the new lineup are much more quiet than before. This certainly has two reasons: everybody is a bit shy with unfamiliar people, and also the growing of the average age results in new ways of communication with both the newcomers and the ‘old-timers’. Kornél has never swam in ‘big water’ before, which made our first joint trip to the ocean shore special. The kids got to show Kornél and László around the coasts of Unawatuna Beach – one of the recurring venue of our stay in Sri Lanka.
On the last day of two mentors and a mentored on the 31st of July, we decided to go on a River Safari, travelling on a motorboat, around the 64 islands of the Madhu river. The two-hour trip had a lot of new experiences in store for us. Exotic birds, sunbathing monitor lizards were hiding between the mangrove trees, even a long-tailed monkey joined us in our boat for a while. One of the islands goes by the name Snake Island, because local people bring the snakes to the island when they find one in their own backyard (we obviously didn’t dock there). On another island which we visited, an old man lives in his small shack made out of clay and leaves of the palm tree. He makes his living by nurturing and processing cinnamon trees growing on his island. He showed us how to cut the crust into small pieces, how to wrap them together and then let them dry until they are ready to sell. He also demonstrated the many healing effects of cinnamon oil.
We’ve seen a small, one-person temple built on a few rocks emerging from the water. We’ve seen how local people hunt for crabs, we went for a ‘fish pedicure’ (small fishes eat the upper epidermis off of the foot hanging in the water), and we could hold baby crocodile in our hands – at least the ones who had the courage. We went by a pub made for the fishermen, which was told by our tour guide to be a dangerous place. Lastly, we docked our motor boat at an island where an enormous Buddha statue was guarded by one Buddhist monk living in isolation, on the island.
This was the farewell to the ‘July turn’. We’ve spent two nights with only six of us there instead of nine – then came the ‘new people’.
These are exciting and emphatic changes. In August, two kids’ parents are coming for family therapy, and in part to see our circumstances of our lives here. The new people will go on a three day trip when the parents arrive, which will take place on the 18th, and on the 26th we go back home. We began reckoning with our months spent here, though some of us only start to dig into work.