Tuesday, February 12, 2008

City Training Pays Off

I should be working. We have this concept paper due next week and I'm meeting with a partner today to discuss our program options. Since I didn't come here to write proposals (in fact, I was quite clear about that fact when I interviewed) I feel it is o.k. to take a few minutes to catch you up on things.

Barbara and I went to an introduction training with the MESA people from last year and those going this year. MESA takes people from around the work and places them for eight months in a sustainable, organic farm in the U.S. It is actually a really incredible program. The training this weekend was supposed to be held in English as the four going will not have anyone to translate or speak to in Sinhala once on their farms. It started out in English, but after about an hour, immediately went full force with the Sinhala.

We got back to Colombo on Saturday and Barbara and I immediately fled to Colombo for a couple of parties. I so rarely get invited to parties here that two in one evening is quite the event. The first was a birthday party for Aftab, from Jim's band. The second was a random party that we were invited to via about three points of separation. When we arrived I actually knew half the people there. Not kidding, I know ten people through three different avenues and they all collided on Saturday. It was a little weird.

Sunday I was all geared up to go to "the jazz." I took the bus for the first time since we were told to not do so. Then I decided to walk to the stadium rather than pay a tuk. As I'm walking down the road I passed a police check point that had pulled a white van over. The driver was out of the car and showing his i.d. This is all routine and I thought nothing of it. Suddenly about 25 police/army guys were running with guns cocked (I heard this process in case you are wondering how I know). So I kept walking. I saw that they had the driver turned around and held by the arm. It seemed the best idea is to ignore what is happening and continue walking as I was walking away from the commotion. I think all my years of living in cities has trained me to be a little numb to this (although it sure was odd to see police running with guns). Anyway, all was fine -- no guns were fired.

And there was no jazz.

But later in the evening Jim's band, "10 Second Rule," (free album here) did play at a bar called Zanziba (I did not misspell that). Zanziba is not really a bar for bands -- the ceiling is low, the acoustics are really terrible. Still they rocked. It turned out to be a good day.

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