Completing 24 orbits around the Sun

Last Sunday 18th of April, I celebrated completing my 24th orbit around the Sun. It’s pretty amazing to think that I have traveled so much across the Space.

Rather than celebrating it in a very contemporary way, I thought of doing something I always wanted to do, but never got around it.

In Sri Lanka we have lot orphanages, most of them are filled with kids. Some of these kids never seen their parents or some were abandoned or some lost, which ever way they ended up at an orphanage, and they hardly get anything we have in our day-to-day lives.

For my birthday I decided to spend some time with the kids at this orphanage (girls’ home) near my place. With my family, few relatives and close astronomy friends we spent a whole day with the kids enjoying the beauty of the Universe. We did give them lunch, but I guess the better food is the food for the brain - knowledge.

Below are some unforgettable moments from the day.

The day started with a lecture "Universe and Everything in it". It was interesting to see the reactions of the kids when they started realizing how small we are and how big is the Universe.

Using Earth Ball to demonstrate day-night, why it's round, why someone from south or sides never falls off was fun. Many thanks to Carolina Ödman from UNAWE for sending the Earth Ball.

Explaining Solar System

Small exhibition set-up

while I was giving the talk, my friends were preparing the next activity

next activity was Solar System scale model

we asked kids to guess where would be the planets be if we put the whole solar system inside the orphanage land

kids were marking the positions of the planets

more planets to mark

all were surprised to see the real positions of the planets!

and then it was the lunch time

after lunch, kids playing around and of course now they have more questions than they had before


next activity was the "Egg Rocket". Here I'm giving a brief introduction to Rockets and the activity

kids were divided into 5 groups for the activity

they had to build a rocket model with the egg inside, egg is the Astronaut!

hard at work! very focused!

thinking how to save the astronaut or rather "Eggonaut"

this is my dad giving some tips, guess he knows enough astronomy by now :-)

after building the rocket, all of them were dropped from a height of one floor.

Guess it's R.I.P. for that "Eggonaut"

anxiously waiting till we check the next one

time for the GAM birthday cake. my dad made this (yes, our family has been doing bridal, weddings, cakes, etc... for twenty years - which explains one of my hobbies - fashion designing)

they sang "happy birthday" in both Sinhalese and English, how nice :-)

then we made a banner with hand prints, it was way too fun and kids loved it.


middle logo is the "Universe Awareness" logo

lots of hands!

as the final activity, we did a "Water Rocket" demonstration

launch was delayed due to some technical difficulties

and up it goes

the kids with the banner we all made which hangs in my room now

it was a day to remember

I want to thank my family who helped with the preparation and friends – Laika, Pinky, Abi, Desh who helped on the day with the activities.

I hope my little contribution would at least make few kids interested in Science. Astronomy is a multifaceted as a brilliant-cut diamond, an infinite font of ideas and imagination. So much to learn and so much to learn of. Through this beautiful subject we can make a better place and help to understand our Universe as a whole and at the same time improving life here on Earth.


jessica santascoy said...

what a fantastic birthday. wish i had been there with you to celebrate. the pictures really illustrate the story well. Hope this year's orbit is a beautiful one for you!

peregrinus said...

Thilina, I wish You many-many orbits to come, with such great celebrations! All the best, Tibor

scarlett empress said...

hmm... makes me want to reconsider certain consistent requests..hehe. :P

looks like you covered evry aspect of what it takes to make a fulfilling day.. for u and the kids alike..hope the current orbit is as fulfilling and rewarding. :)

best wishes, tins!

MehranW said...

Hi Thilina - Wonderful birthday - You are the Carl Sagan of Sri Lanka! Amazing, you probably are a hero to many of those needy kids! Wish you many more orbits and an extremely long and eventful visit in our Solar System (but then I don't have to wish you that, you are already there)!

Mponda said...

I think I am running out of words to say how excited I am with you birthday party. It is real one of the kind and I will second it maybe this year in Tanzania.

Nice work and keep the creative mind safe in this new Journey around the Sun

carolune said...

Great stuff Thilina! And a happy new orbit around the Sun to you!

And since you seem to like Stevie Wonder:



Parisa Mahmoudzadeh said...

hi Thilina!
I don't know what to say...what you did was wonderful and invaluable...our world needs people like you...happy new orbit around the sun.Good Luck!:)