Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back from the Beyond

So I'm back. Not sure I did much good up there in Vavuniya. I designed some walking lessons for them -- I tried to explain that environmental lessons should be taught outside anyway, so they might as well just go for some walks. I'm hoping that takes care of the whole, not being allowed to teach without the Health Department there. The problem with this concept is that to really have much of an impact on the kids the person leading the walks needs to know what they are talking about. Oh well, can't do much there. They probably won't even implement my ideas anyway, so it won't matter.

They wanted me to come up for a whole week, but they couldn't even keep me entertained for two and a half days. At least I had access to some new DVDs because I stayed at the house of some German NGO workers. Also, I'd like to add, the Germans mispronounce Vavuniya.

This time I was in Vavuniya town (when I did my photography workshop I was at the farm, which is not in town). Vavuniya is more like a large village. The most striking feature? That everyone is on a bicycle. I'm not exaggerating. The only cars are driven by NGOs. There are some tuks and motorbikes, but the vast majority of people are riding bikes. You see them lined up outside of the gates to schools and offices. They are all the same bike (which makes me think some NGO donated them).

Also, this comment is going to get me into trouble, but I've noticed that people are friendlier in Tamil communities. The neighbors all came out and said hello to me. No one said anything rude the entire time I was there. I don't know any of my neighbors in Boralesgamuwa and I can't walk down the street here without at least one rude comment. I'm sure you are thinking that is Colombo, but it happens anytime I'm in the west. I am willing to concede that this inappropriate behavior may be caused by too much exposure to foreigners.

Our drive home was uneventful because we had a stooge monk in the car. Yep, we utilized a monk on staff in the Vavuniya office to get us to the big check point so we wouldn't have to wait for two hours while they checked the car. The monk went back with the car when we walked through the check point (Vavuniya is the office that you have to take two vehicles to because of this big checkpoint that vehicles are not allowed through).

My welcome home (maybe my punishment for racist ideas) was a flooded kitchen. I apparently left the refridgerator door open. Well, I didn't leave it open, it doesn't actually seal very well anymore and I guess this time that lack of sealing meant the freezer defrosted. It needed defrosting anyway, but usually we unplug the fridge when we do it. Oh well.

You know I've been here too long -- I was completely uninspired to take photos the entire time in Vavuniya. Since we'll be seeing animals I'm sure I'll be better this weekend.

Saturday my friends Joe and Kristine arrive from San Fran. I'm so excited. We'll be going into Uda Walawe National Park. Yeah.

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