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  • Eleni Kyriacou


I then travelled to Sri Lanka via the volunteer agency International Volunteers HQ (IVHQ) enabling me to volunteer under the programme Green Lion. Green Lion is a fantastic programme that offers everything from orphanage care, to elderly care, to wildlife conservation and to – what I chose – temple renovation.

I volunteered for two weeks, spending the first week in Kandy. I was placed at a Buddhist temple run by three very kind monks. It was my task to renovate what is known as a Bodhi temple. A Bodhi Temple is a ring shaped shrine that is built around the Holy Buddhist tree: The Bodhi Tree as Buddha was said to have meditated under such a tree. The one I renovated is frequently visited by inhabitants of the village, particularly on a full moon, which is a religious occasion in Buddhism. The temple was painted in pink and yellow similar to the blossom of the tree it enclosed, its blossom falls all around the temple. It was my task to sand down and re-paint the temple, as well as patch up cracks and holes and clean the surrounding floor area and shrine glass. These temples also, always feature an array of identical elephants, a Buddhist symbol, and within the shrine itself were numerous identical statues of seated Buddha. The reason for this is to try and ensure that there is a Buddha for every worshipper that visits the shrine, so that the worshipper has a one to one relationship with Buddha.

Monk starting me off!

The most lovely monk in the world serving me papaya from the temple gardens.

Day 1 finished..

Bodhi temple surrounding bodhi tree.

My co-ordinator, me and my monk.

And the finished result!

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