Monday, March 5, 2007

Poya Day

In Sri Lanka you get a bank holiday for every full moon. It's called a Poya day. So you can do the maths……We spent our 1st in the country with one NGO's sole representative in Sri Lanka and her family. A very nice family, but real hard core development workers. I felt a complete wimp. They had worked in Mozambique, Nepal, and Swaziland.

I realized just how hard core when they said they had lived in Nepal, 8 hours drive from Kathmandu, and then a 40 min walk to their village up a mountain pass! AND she had her 1st child there…..Where exactly I’m not sure, as they were so far from Kathmandu. How do you plan for that? She said her 60 year old mother went on a plane for the first time ever to visit them. And she had her practising squatting, to tone up her muscles for the visit, as they had only a long drop/squat for a loo. In fact they said their house in Colombo was the first time they had had an inside loo with a seat (apart that is from their 4 yr stint in surrey.....I'm sure Surrey has no outside privys left)

I smiled weakly, and not for the first time, felt slightly out of my depth. Decided not to share my own ‘soft core’ stories of sharing a ‘long drop’ (hole in the ground loo, on this occasion in a hut) in Malawi with hundreds of HUGE hairy caterpillars In The Dark, (well I thought I was very brave......), inadvertently sharing a picnic spot with a tarantula on Machu Picchu,, sleeping on the floor of a Karen tribe’s hut next to the pig family, or in a police cell in Argentina, or sharing a ride in a Toyota truck with 27 others (I counted)plus two turkeys in Malawi. Decidedly tame….

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