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Serendipity in Serendib


In addition to our Nepal project, which is going very well, I have been in Sri Lanka starting a new project and reconnecting with the families we built houses for in 2010. 

In the town of Hambantota, the first MicroAid beneficiary family’s house had been destroyed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  When we found them in 2008, the Soodins were still living in a makeshift shack because they had not been able to rebuild.

It’s been 14 years since we did our project here—the first MicroAid project, and my first home construction outside of the United States.  It is amazing to see the effect that a comfortable, permanent house can have for a family over the long term. This is a validation of all that we believe MicroAid can, and does, accomplish.

I had such an amazing time reuniting with the family.  It was a very emotional, as I had spent every day for five months with them, in 2010, on the worksite—their new house—becoming part of the family.

I reconnected with Roy (on the left, below), the MicroAid assistant/interpreter from 2010.  He has really been battered by some health issues and looks old and, well, battered.  But all the Soodin kids (six of them) are grown up and are married and working, except the youngest one, who was four when I was here 14 years ago.

2010 - during construction


And our first MicroAid house, after 14 years, is not only still standing, but reinforced and beautified.


I had forgotten how large and truly substantial it was/is.  MicroAid provided a home for this family to grow and to thrive when all they had was a shack—they had not been able to rebuild since the tsunami in 2004… and would never have been able to.


The mom, Risana, (Mr. Soodin died a few years ago), looking so much healthier and solid than when we first met in 2008, is a reflection of the security and solidity of having that home!


She was so grateful to see me—she was crying… just like the last time I saw her, when I was leaving.

The experience was extremely validating—proving MicroAid's work is worthwhile… has an effect… a profound, life-altering effect. 

I feel privileged and grateful to be representing your generosity in the world in this way.  And bringing so much empowerment to our beneficiary families. Thank you.

After the initial re-connection, we (our project manager from Nepal is here to help assess the new project) were honored with a breakfast at the Soodin’s, the next morning.  The whole family had gathered to welcome us. They had prepared a wonderful feast and a special table for me and Nabina and Roy to sit and eat at… while they all watched.


I had forgotten about that tradition: only the honored guests eat.  So, coming from our culture, it was a bit awkward, but truly delicious.

It was gratifying to see the Soodin kids all grown up, and one, Raseena (far right), brought her husband.  Now, appropriate for the times, we are all WhatsApping—yapping.  It was wonderful to experience that kind of outpouring of gratitude.  

MicroAid receives similar treatment by the families in Nepal—but without the emotion (at least not so apparently.)  And in Nepal, not so much time has passed.

Later, I met with Roy to discuss the new project. 

MicroAid will help another family with a “tools of livelihood” project—by building a  small shop on their property where they can sell necessity-type items to the community. This will give this branch of the family (they are relatives of the Soodin’s) the ability to earn a living and support three adult sisters and three children. In 14 more years, I’m sure we will have another MicroAid success story!

I am more than pleased to be able to report this wonderful news from the very first MicroAid project site. There is no better proof of concept than the Soodin family after 14 years.

Thank you for being part of this amazing transformation and success story… one of many in the MicroAid portfolio.

MicroAid would not exist without your support. So...

“Istouti”—thank you!

Wishing you all the best from Ceylon.


Jon Ross

Founder/project manager

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