Thursday, January 17, 2008


I've had a few comments on my negativity again, so it is time for a positive post. Luckily this time I don't have to do some sort of cheesy, "10 best things," list as I have some good, positive things to report about my life!

Remember how I was complaining about how bored I am and how I have nothing to do. Well, you may also recall that my New Year's resolution was to actually start taking more responsibility for how my life is going and start being more
outspoken. And it has worked. Not only did I get that lovely blender, but now I have things to do at work.

Last Thursday I met with Amanda on my lack of work and my inability to motivate staff to involve me in their projects. I was a little worried about the tone of this meeting because Amanda's response to my e-mail meeting request was that
"people at your level usually create their own projects." See, I was told quite directly and several times that I should not create my own projects because eventually I'll leave and the project will die.

But the meeting went really well. Amanda understood my issues (to some extent) and promised to help me obtain the transportation/support I require. She also had a great suggestion to help fill my time -- write a nature guide for Islander Centre. I'm really excited about this project because it will require I take a lot of stunning wildlife photos. It will also require that I stay up at Islander for a bit and since they open their new building at the end of this month, that should be
fairly pleasant. It may help with one of my other problems too -- that of money. When I'm not in Colombo my expenses are paid for by Sewalanka, so being at Islander means I'll be able to put my own cash away for a bit.

She also suggested I write up a plan to visit the district offices and she will arrange a vehicle and talk to the offices about showing me their projects. Please
don't ask why Amanda has to actually make these requests rather than me -- I don't know why I'm always unsuccessful at obtaining a response and she gets one in five minutes -- I'm just happy to have the support.

So then on Tuesday (due I'm sure to a pitiful e-mail I sent to Gayani crying about how I came here to work on mangrove restoration, but I'm not, and how I really,
really want to be more involved) I was invited by Gayani to attend at Mangrove Action Project/In the Hands of Fishers meeting. This meeting was really great and I feel I made a positive contribution while learning a lot. It looks like Sewalanka may become a more active member of this network of mangrove restoration projects and I'm pretty confident I'll get do to more in regards to that.
Wednesday I made my first trip to Islander. I think a great deal of the reason Amanda is willing to assist in logistics for future travel was because she was so shocked at how few places I have seen so far. Wednesday was my day to help with the leadership training. Actually, my day happened while I was in America (even though they promised they would schedule it when I was here). Wednesday was Mr. Ajith's day to cover risk awareness, but he said he couldn't go, so Upul and I hijacked the day for the environment. It was nice, I think the students enjoyed the presentation and learned something (though it is hard to tell when everything is translated) and Islander Centre is a birders dream come true and there are giant squirrels! I'm so excited about writing this nature guide.Now there are plans for all the American staff (because suddenly there are a lot of us -- there never used to be very many foreigners around and now there are many and they are all Americans) to travel to Ampara next week for different reasons. I'm happy because since Amanda is planning this trip and not Harshana, I was able to tack on a weekend and Barbara and I are finally going to review the tours that are part of our community based tourism project. Yeah!

So see, my life is definitely looking a great deal better. Things are getting accomplished, and if that isn't actually true, at least I'm seeing more of this country. Not to mention getting more photos -- those will be up shortly.

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