Before taking part in the project Monk teaching in Shi Subodaramaya started five months ago by Idex, Rev. Rathana Thero had a little or no idea how much he loved learning foreign languages. Rev. Rathana Thero is a fifteen-year-old boy who used to live in a village about 70 km far from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He became a Buddhist monk at the tender age of eleven and left his home, but before that he used to live with his family, his father Gunawatha is a farmer and mother Sumanawathi is a housewife, she also helps Rathana’s father in farming and he also has three brothers Thapasu, Chandrathana and Suranga, who are doing studies in the village.
Born in an impecunious family, he had never been in a good English medium school. However, he had a strong desire to learn English. Because of his politeness and a happy go lucky attitude, he was quite remarkable among the others; however he didn’t like learning much in the beginning. In the morning he took part in the English lessons taken by the Volunteer Anna Zeppenfeld and during the afternoon he used to go to Priveena where he used to learn Buddhism. It took a while for him to realize, but when he did he surpassed everybody else gradually, needless to mention, he has the ability to learn quickly.
When we started the lessons he was quite unsatisfactory at the beginning and it took him some time to realize how important the lessons are, so he even started late. Initially, he used to come, talk to other monks and leave, perhaps because of a little hesitation that he had inside him, soon he heard his inner calling, and started paying attention to the lessons. This is when he realized how much he loves learning English. He grasped quite fast, faster than his contemporaries. He is a smart boy, but just like an unpolished diamond, he needed some polish, some brush-up, that was done by our volunteers. He maintained his enthusiasm for learning English and soon he surpassed most of his contemporaries.
We are glad to see him growing and learning, and we are happier that we have played a role in this. Volunteering comes with a matchless reward.