Co-limbo

Trip Start Oct 20, 2004
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19
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Trip End Apr 26, 2005


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Friday, January 21, 2005

COLOMBO

When we arrived in Colombo on Monday night, it became apparent that we were on our own. Our ride never showed up at the airport, and our hotel accommodations fell through as well. We quickly realized that communication had again failed; matters were in our own hands. So we phoned a new friend who - lucky for us - had returned to Colombo from Batticaloa. He kindly invited us to stay with him at a friend's home, so we took a taxi from the airport to the residence. We talked late into the night, learning more about the political climate and discussing the challenges his organization is facing. Judging from his frustration, a lot of bureaucratic nonsense has hindered efforts across the board. Unfortunately, we are beginning to understand this problem too well.

Frustration has been the predominant emotion we've experienced since we arrived in Colombo. The 'red tape' exists on a variety of levels; newspaper articles tell of the organizational problems everywhere, from the smallest non-government organization to the United Nations. To witness it first hand makes my head spin. While many great people are involved, others seem to have hidden agendas. Trust (or lack thereof) seems to be just as big an issue as organization (or lack thereof).

Still, we are in a position to help, and we want to do so appropriately. Since neither of us is medically trained nor a specialist in disaster relief, we are trying to focus on what we can do within our limits. Presently, we see two realistic ways to contribute. The first is to help direct a small amount of funds, as friends and family have asked our advice about where to donate. (We're still working on it.) The second is to get out of the board room and to physically help. (We're still working on this, too.) For now we remain in Colombo...
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