Saturday, December 8, 2007

Friday's Events

Friday's events went well, though not without stress. Especially the Arugambay event, as Harshana did not actually do many of the things I asked him to do prior to arrival at Barefoot. I had to pull him aside and tell him that just ignoring me will not actually make me disappear so he needs to start communicating. If there is one character trait that really bugs me here it is the lack of communication. Don't just say yes and then not do it -- if you don't have time or can't actually do something you need to tell me. In Sri Lanka it is apparently wrong to say you will not do something so they say they will and then they do not. This is so aggravating I can't even put it into words.

Anyway, people who came to the events gave lots of compliments, etc. We had a debriefing today to discuss how to document the procedure for next time and what could be done differently to make the event go more smoothly.

The big lesson was not to do two events in one day -- especially if they are in any way related to each other -- both events were tourism projects. I was the only one who attended both events while holding responsibilities at both. I was so tired when I finally got home at 8 p.m. on Friday. We had to wait at Barefoot for an hour and a half for a vehicle to take us home, which only made me more tired. I'm seriously irritated by the vehicle problem.

Somehow I ended up being the "official photographer" for the events. I'm not happy with that designation as I'm not an event photographer. First, I don't do well indoors with poor light. Plus, I don't like the stress involved in being expected to produce interesting photos from such events. Frankly, event photos are always boring and there is very little the photographer can do to make them more interesting. You are taking photos of people sitting or standing in front of a crowd talking -- this is never interesting in a still form. So now I have 100 photos of people standing and sitting (generally looking down because people here read when they present rather than actually present). Boring.

I'm also not a fan of the "group shot." These are also always boring to me. Plus, inevitably, someone won't be looking or paying attention and that person will be upset at which photo was chosen because their eyes are closed or their mouth is open, etc.

Basically, these are my excuses for my photos being less than interesting or even nice. I'm all about excuses.

Because the car was late picking us up I did get some nice shots of the Christmas lights that decorate Barefoot.


James said...

Did you make those EcoTourism guidebooks? Bring one back for me!

As for the locals not being able to say 'no', we studied that in my intercultural communication class. It has something to do with saving face - to admit you can't is to lose face, even though you would like it to be different. Like me, you are very direct and sometimes blunt, which may not be the best approach when this wierd concept of face save is involved. However, I can't offer any advice on how to navigate that intercommunication. Perhaps ask some friends not related to the project how they would approach it with people of the same nationality?

Jessica L. said...

I didn't make the eco-guidebooks. They were written by an American three years ago and just now published. Actually, there are a few things out of date in them now, but the publisher seemed unconcerned.

If I get back to Lakehouse before I leave I'll get you one -- otherwise you'll have to wait until I return to the States next fall.