Sunday, March 16, 2008

Travel and Workshops

First, totally off topic, do this test that Ryan Phillips sent me. It is crazy! It has a very important message and it could save a life (maybe mine).I just want to say that I love Indonesia. Yes, I was in Jakarta, so not the best representation of the 17,000 island country. Yes, I was in a workshop all day for three and a half of the four days I was there. Yet, I still love it. Who wouldn't love a place where peanut sauce is a main ingredient in many dishes and where really excellent and strong coffee is served on an hourly basis.

Of course, since I was in a workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. I didn't see much, but I've been to Jakarta before, so it didn't bother me that much. I did get out to the grocery store so that I could purchase some excellent ginger tea and other luxuries to make life in Sri Lanka a little bit nicer. Let me tell you that Jakarta is not only much more developed than Colombo, they also have way, way more products available in the stores!

The workshop was odd. It was all about how to write a proposal for the Global Fund. This is round eight and most of the countries represented have applied each round, yet we still need workshops to explain how to write the proposal. The main message: read the guidelines. I find this incredible, yet, when reading the comments from Sri Lanka's Round Seven proposal you can see, this message is not always adhered to.

I was supposed to go immediately from the airport in Colombo (arrived at 1:30 a.m.) to Islander Center to attend this tourism workshop, but instead I was taken home to sleep for two hours. Honestly, I would much preferred to just go to Islander and then sleep because two hours is not enough to make me feel rested.

It took us six hours to make the 3.5 hour drive. First we were sent on a wild goose chase to pick-up someone that we never picked up (I was half asleep, so I have no idea what actually happened). Then we had to wait one and a half hours at a bridge because an overloaded truck caused the platform to drop.

Once I arrived I realized my rushing back from Indonesia was really unnecessary. Darn my incredible work ethic. I had few responsibilities for a workshop I've been working on for months -- my role at the workshop was to take photos. That is fine, I don't mind a behind the scenes role, but when they thanked everyone for their work on the planning, it would have been nice to receive some recognition. I know I usually am extremely modest when it comes to work and I tend to not care so much about these things, but lately it has been bothering me. Maybe it is because no one ever says anything about the work I do here and we as human beings really need the occasional "good job." Maybe it is the fact that they run through a list of names every time they do these meetings and I'm never on it. To be fair, they did thank me for taking photos.
I think I may have mentioned how much I hate taking photographs at meetings. These are not interesting photos. They are boring. All that said, I enjoyed it this time as, once again, the meeting was not translated, so I couldn't understand anything. Actually, this time we had translation occasionally, which I guess is an improvement.Friday night they had a high Sinhala band to sing and play for us at a barbecue. They were pretty good, but they only knew Sinhala, so we had to look within our own ranks for Tamil.
The nice thing about workshops at Islander Center is that there is a lot of wildlife to view and photograph.
And not so wild...

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