Trip Start Sep 26, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, October 13, 2006

That Monday I started my new 'job.'
INDECOS (The Institute for Development of Community Strengths) is a local NGO working in a variety of fields. They do work with training preschool teachers, vector borne illnesses (mostly promotion of prevention for malaria, dengue, etc...), HIV/AIDS awareness, health promotion (boiling drinking water, distribution of water containers after tsunami, etc...) and the project I'm primarily working on: the Women's Entrepreneurship Program (WEP).
The office is located in a really beautiful home about two kilometers east of Matara, just off the main road (heading to Galle). However, this home was 'abandoned' because it is conveniently located next door to a hotel/reception hall. Receptions, which thankfully are only hosted a few times per month, spill out into the garden. The music (the sound system is in the garden) is so loud that I must yell to be heard. In my office. It's really unreal. (Wedding dates are decided based on the 'auspicious' - more on this later - time and date. As such, weddings are held any day of the week, and often in the mornings.)
Days when there are no receptions, there is the constant sound of busses, horns, three-wheelers and helicopters; birds, squirrels, cats and dogs; and the sound of the gentle ocean breeze in the palm trees. Occasionally someone drives by selling stuff (usually lotto tickets) and making their presences known with a bullhorn or by playing 'this is a small world after all' over and over on some amplified electric apparatus (think dollar-store kid's toy) undoubtedly made in China.
Sometimes I can smell the salty ocean air (I'm about a 15-minute walk from the ocean). This is a big tease as the sun sets too early for me to enjoy a safe, comfortable 'sea bath' on my way home.
The building is not air-conditioned (very few are in Matara) but is well ventilated, so it's comfortable. I have my own work space - four walls, a desk, chair, ceiling fan, silk flowers (they are everywhere in SL), patio doors that open onto the garden next door... it's simple, but I love it!
Every morning, I am greeted by little lizards scurrying about my office. Birds and cats come for visits at my window.
Other than my boss - Conrad - and another gentleman working on AIDS projects, all of the staff are 20- and 30- year old females. Some speak English better than others, but it's all pretty basic. We have a really fun time trying to communicate: my broken Sinhala and their broken English keeps conversations pretty basic, but even so, every idea takes 5 minutes to convey - either way. We usually end up giggling a lot.
I had a heck of a time trying to remember all their names though!: Samila, Rasila, Rasika, Dinusha, Nichanti, Nadeeka, ...
I'll fill you in on the work I'm doing later on (once I figure out what I'm doing...)!
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