Brigid Travels

Updates from The Road

End of work day number 1 [2005]

Well, I got my luggage this morning at 6am. It was nice to finally get the rest of my stuff, and more clothes to wear :) But it did take quite a few calls to the airline and the courier. Luckily, another teammate, Damien, had lost his bag so between the two of us I think the delivery was accelerated. They say Sri Lankan time does not go by the clock, and that's definitely true.

Today was our first day of beach cleanup. So far the plan is to do that every morning this week, and plant trees every morning next week. There are about 20 of us, and I think we gathered about 60 bags of trash in 3 or 4 hours. Afterwards, a bunch of us frolicked in the sea for a bit to wash the sand and grime off. A good morning.

In the afternoon each day we either go to the camp of about 35 displaced families or go to the community center.Yesterday we arrived in the afternoon and went to the camp for a bit, so today I opted for the community center. A few of us drew some learning posters - letters, numbers, colors, etc. Others worked with the 5 or 6 kids that came to learn about 3pm, and the other 10 or 20 that came in to color and play around 4pm. We went back to the lodging about 5:30pm, a very productive day.

By the way, the food is excellent (especially for a vegetarian!).The team is great, and it is really helpful that there are 2 people that have already been here for 3 weeks, so they can fill us in, in addition to the project team members.

Today during the lunch break, a few of us rode into town, checked out the scene and used the ATM. Quite an adventure. Tonight 5 of us rode in the tuk-tuk (meant to hold 3) so the ride home will be another adventure, screaming by busses, inches away from motorcycles and bicycles... driving is an experience.

This weekend, some of us are going to the jungle and others to Kandy, a cultural center. I opted for Kandy, which will include a visit to the Temple of the Tooth (a sacred Buddha relic) and the elephant orphanage where I should be able to join the elephants in the river. Plus, it will be 2 nights in a nice hotel with air conditioning :)( It is quite muggy - reminds me alot of Georgia (the weather, not the environ!). And I shouldn't complain -- my roommate (Paula, a barrister from London) and I got the best room :)

Gotta go -- this internet connection is a bit spotty. I'll try to write again soon~

L Brigid.