Friday, June 6, 2008

Polonnaruwa Part II

So after traveling around the island with Rachel, having not seen anything of Sri Lanka's ancient culture prior to those ten days, I went to Polonnaruwa for work.

Actually, Jo-Anne was sent to our office in Polonnaruwa to write about their projects in the next newsletter, but since their projects are supposedly environmental I went along to see them.I actually was marginally aware of what was going on in Polonnaruwa because right before I went to India I had to make a poster on a tree planting scheme to abate climate change. I wasn't really provided much information to do this task, so I was interested in seeing exactly what was happening.
And apparently the answer is nothing. The poster was a proposal, not a report. Polonnaruwa hopes to find a donor soon for that project.What they are doing is micro-loans to community-based organizations (CBOs). So we met with some CBOs and heard about how they obtain the loans to buy chemicals for their paddy fields. O.k. that was just one CBO, but I did make them uncomfortable because I asked a lot of questions about whether they are applying the correct amount (something like 80 or 90 percent of farmers worldwide over apply pesticides and fertilizers) or whether they have thought about going organic. Yeah, they didn't really like me.The other CBOs have used their loan money to begin a savings plan and to help various members of their organizations to open stores, a hair salon, purchase equipment for a carpentry business, and a rice husker.
Since they didn't have as many projects as we were led to believe we finished a day early. We did stop by to see the southern most group of ruins, since no one monitors that for tickets. I also got some photos of random people planting their paddy fields.

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