Monday, March 3, 2008

Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

You need to take news articles from Sri Lankan newspapers with a grain of salt. Generally the government is basically telling them what to write and thus, it isn't always so factual.

Case in point: I believe Friday I linked to an article that said the economy was "reasonably stable" now. Well, that isn't so true apparently. Today I received word (from another Sri Lankan news outlet) that inflation was 21.6 percent in the last twelve months ending in February. More to the point the Colombo Consumer Price Index was 2.8 percent in February, which was actually a drop from January when it was 3 percent, but still not what one would call stable! The Consumer Price Index is a better indication of the changes that I experience -- the amount every day items increase. So 2.8 percent may seem minuscule, but think of the overall effect if everything you purchase was suddenly nearly three percent more expensive. Oh yeah, and I've actually been told by people (tuk drivers) that foreigners should "make up the difference" for everyone else. You know, because we are so rich.

O.k. let's go to our happy place again.
Ah, better.

So today I found out that I am going to Indonesia next week. I actually heard this news last week, but then we needed to confirm dates, etc. I'll be going to meet people from around Asia who hope to apply for a Global Fund grant. I'm writing the NGO AIDs section. No, I haven't changed careers, I'm just acting as a hired writer in this case and do not need any actual experience with AIDs projects -- there are others on the Sri Lankan delegation that have the necessary expertise. This is a little side project that Sewalanka has given me to help me with my money woes. When the idea was presented to me I wasn't even told about the added bonus of going to Indonesia! I'm pretty happy to have four days of tempey and gado gado.

March is turning out to be extremely busy. Apparently this is a good thing because nothing gets done in April. The Sinhala and Tamil New Year is celebrated on the same day and supposedly everything closes for the week. I guess that week bleeds into the rest of the month. Plus April/May are supposed to be unbearably hot here.

I'll leave you with some photos by Dick (new American here working on IT curriculum). Barbara and Dick came up this weekend so we could have a going away party for Aya. Yep, Aya is calling it quits. I hope we were able to lift her spirits a bit with some fun shenanigans this weekend! Saturday night we had a quiet party with the four of us and Manurie and Bhuti; Aya made sushi, Manurie made curry and I made banana bread.
Then we fit four of us in a tuk. This didn't seem unusual to us since I see far more than four in tuks all the time, but apparently it is illegal and the driver did in fact get a ticket.

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