Monday, February 10, 2014

First Sunrise in Lanka

January 11th, 2014

  • Good Morning!
It was a call from my parents that woke me. Their daughter was not only away from home but also from the country. They had a solid reason to worry about. I woke up completely. The first morning in Sri Lanka! We did not have any schedule today because all the participants were still coming. On this evening with the opening ceremony and welcome dinner our ISV was planned to begin officially. So we got a free day ahead. We got ready for breakfast and our car was there to pick us.

First morning in front of our Chalet, in Sri Lanka

On breakfast table I met Tajdar Alam and Mohammad Zakria, another two participants from Pakistan. I could recognize Tajdar from his posted pictures on Facebook. Then our Sri Lankan facilitator Shaheedah met our Pakistani participant Shahida! Later on we got many pictures of these two “Shahidas”. We all had our breakfast together discussing about our ISV and anticipating about our tonight’s event! As I already mentioned the food was delicious, I technically never faced any problem with consuming it! We explored, took loads of photographs in MIMT and in front of our chalet, tried to use Wifi in the lobby of MIMT but signal was really poor.

See there! our Chalet 36

  • The Grand Arrival Of Egyptian Princess With A Coconut! 

It was way too hot there. We came back to chalet for taking rest and so on. Just before the time of lunch I met my third friend and chalet-mate, Aya Elsayed Abo Sahaba, in short, Aya from Egypt. 
Aya Elsayed Abo Sahaba

She was another fragrance of innocence and life. She was such a pretty girl just like a shiny star had fallen on the Earth! She was very enthusiastic. I still remember that she brought a coconut with her. After arriving in chalet Aya charged me why I am on the top of the ISV profiles and “how much” I have paid for it!! Lol
Aya was graduated from the department of children and she had participated in school development projects and training also. Her interest was in modern methods of learning and the transfer of skills and knowledge. Unfortunately she did not get a chance to change because we were outrunning the time!

It was already time for lunch, so we hurried. On the way we met with the other participants from UK who had just arrived. Still few were yet to come. Maya was telling in the morning that by the time of opening ceremony another to from Bosnia would be arriving. At MIMT we also found some ISV participants from Sri Lanka as well. As more people started to gather the more cheerful the environment started to become! We had not talked with everyone yet but we were really looking forward to it. After lunch, we all the participants who had arrived, gathered together in the lobby of MIMT. Thushara was taking preferences for community visits from participants. We had five community visits and six of the participants would be participating in each community visit. Diverse chatting was going on and  yes some of them really needed to rest. So this could not go on for a long. 

The first group photo

By this time,the balance of my phone went out and I really needed to recharge. The charge of outgoing calls was remarkable. It costs 14 rupees plus vat per minute and 6 rupees plus vat per SMS. I still cannot forget this horrifying memory and it still haunts me often that I talked only for 5 minutes and around 60 rupees are gone!! Anyway, Shahida volunteered herself by accompanying me as I went to buy a recharge card. We both were so excited about our opening ceremony! We could not wait much longer. 

  • The Opening Ceremony Begins

Finally by evening time all 30 participants of ISV were present in MIMT. I met most of the participants from Sri Lanka at that time. They were so friendly and hospitable and looked more or less like Bangladeshi male feature though they had something different in them. Among them, Rajive had so many Bangladeshi friends that he could say 4 or 5 Bengali sentences and he had been to Jessore too. He very eagerly tried to show his fluency in Bengali by uttering “Aami tumake balobashi”-which means “I love you”!! Two of the Sri Lankan female participants were going to share the chalet with us. They were Nilusha Paranavithana and Tharsha Vettivel. Hard ,right? Those names of Sri Lankan people! Yes, I had a real hard time in memorizing all of them and I still cannot say with hundred percent confidences that I remember them all!!
Opening session, Michael Unwin in lead

The opening ceremony started almost when I got in the big room for training and we were all sitting there roundly. At first all of the facilitators, James, Dan, Rashitha, Thaya, Shaheedah and the hosts from British Council, Michael, Thushara-they introduced themselves and also discussed about our ISV journey side by side.

  • The Game Of Introduction
Then we had some sort of games. You may say it “introduction game”, like in 3 minutes we had to find one person with whom I had not met or talked yet and had to find out his or her name, country and the last thing that made him or her laugh out loud!! This went on for sometimes. I met the rest of the ISV participants who were new to me.I met Sam Taylor another UK participant. He is a cool dude with tattoos all over his body! His accent gave me little trouble as half of the word he uttered went into silent mode! Yes, that’s the usual problem we Asian face that we have to pay a lot of attention to understand the natural European accent! Sam had spent 6 months in China and nowadays he was working hard in his office. And the person I met was from Sri Lanka, Shifani Mohamed Samoon. He seemed a shy type of character. We introduced ourselves. Shifani was studying for BA in Social Science and his passion was working in Education sector. Every participant I met from Sri Lanka, whether they are shy or bold one thing was common in them. All of them were super active in doing something!

Introducing with Shifani from Sri Lanka

This was only the beginning of the opening ceremony. A lot more was to come, to see, to know and to cherish! My senses were still numb like I was wondering in dreams and I did not even wanted to wake up. :)

(To be continued)