Saturday, February 15, 2014

ISV: The Road to Adam's Peak

The opening ceremony contained loads of excitement to taste and to venture whatever was new to me!  

We stood roundly and one by one, we introduced ourselves by answering 5 questions about our name, country,how long we were involved into Active Citizens, how long it took us to reach Colombo, and the meaning of our name. Well, when it came for my turn, I told them that my name had actually two meanings: in Bengali, it meant "soul", and in Carl Jung's analytical psychological term, it meant "the unconscious masculine part in a female". and all of a sudden everyone had a meaning of my name. "In Latin, Anima means enthusiastic!", said James. "Oh, and in Sinhali it means CraZzY!!" discovered Ajanthan. Dan specifically said what my name meant in Greek, unfortunately I do not remember it. I cried out "I don't want to know another meaning of my name!!" and I looked at everyone and there was smile in everyone's face, just like i was surrounded with a bunch of friends pulling my leg; friends, whom I knew for a long time.

The Adma's Peak

At this day I got to know about the Adam's peak.
Adam’s Peak is the most sacred place for four religions, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Hindu. It refers to the footprint-shaped mark at the summit, which is believed by Buddhist to be that of the Lord Buddha. Christian and Islamic traditions assert that it is the footprint of Adam, left when first setting foot on the Earth after having been cast out of paradise, giving it the name "Adam's Peak". Hindu tradition refers to the footprint as that of the Hindu deity Shiva, and thus names the mountain Shiva padam (Shiva's foot) in Tamil. As this Adam’s Peak resembles one place that mingles four religions, four types of culture and belief altogether and still holds the faith and purity of every believer. Our journey of ISV would be kind of the same in which the road would mingle the culture, thoughts, idea and perception of every participants with each other leaving all of us with a strong individuality but united from within. Adam's peak, seemed like the destination of our journey.

Finally we finished our introductory session with a traditional song from Sri Lanka which mixed up both Sinhal and Tamil culture. Thushara started singing and one by one the participants from Sri Lanka raised their voice. Suddenly I heard Shahida singing from a corner beside me. She did not know language nor the meaning but she tried to follow them. We smiled at each other, yes, that was the blending of cultures. :)

Michael Unwin
Then we headed for our Welcome dinner. Some of the food were delicious.. Yes, I am not referring every item because the taste of Sri Lanka’s original cuisine got very strong spices and flavor that usually did not suit with my Bengali appetite! I came to know about a spice named “curry leaf” which got a very strong flavor. Michel Unwin came to seat with me during the dinner and we talked a lot on our “ Youth Film Festival” in which I was participating actively. We also talked about the logo film and I described the theme and the technical working to him. He seemed interested. Michael had been working in Active Citizens global team since September 2013 and he had previously worked in training for the Youth in Action team as well. It was really generous of him that during the whole ISV he tried to get connect with every participant not only through the session but also by knowing them personally. He himself was a very kind, lovely and generous person and had a charming smile always on his face.

Coming back to the Chalet we did not actually know what to do now. Shahida could not contact her family for two days so she was upset. I went to meet her. Shahida and Aya were sharing the room. After we talked for a while Maya came to join us. We talked a lot almost about everything! It really seemed strange that just a day ago we did not even know that these persons existed or not and just in one day we became so close that we could share everything with each other. Maya was senior among all of us though it could be hardly understood by observing her! She had gone through a lot of journey in her life and she was thoughtful and at the same time practical. Shahida was youngest among us and well everyone would know it after spending maximum five minutes with her!! She was passionate, to some extent immature but she was much experienced in various fields which could seem like a dream to most of the Bangladeshi girls. And what can I say about Aya? She suffered a lot and thus she gained only strength and patience to build her own way all by herself. She is a true inspiration for all the Egyptian girls.

Now It was time to sleep because we had a compact schedule coming in the next day. So we bid goodbyes and went to bed having a big smile on our faces. From the next day we would start the journey together. I still did not know it clearly what would happen next but what I already knew that the bonding was already made and the starting of our journey to the Adam's peak was just on the right track. 

(To be continued)