What if one of the most distributed products in the world could be turned into a distribution network of essential medicines? You can buy Coca-Cola virtually anywhere in developing countries, but in these same places 1 in 9 children die before their 5th birthday from simple, preventable causes like dehydration from diarrhea. This is a […]
On the very last day in Colombo, I was invited to meet some of the students at the Sri Lanka Television Training Institute. As opposed to a physical address, the name of the building, which was apparently easy to find, was given. Hence, I asked my tuk-tuk driver to drive me to that location. After going through the first security checkpoint, things got really weird when too many details were being asked, including a copy of personal identification. I kept thinking to myself that the Institute was probably one of the most heavily secured educational organizations I had ever been.
Badulla was the first location in which no other foreigners were encountered; hence, curious stares just came naturally. Either through walks around the city, farm visitations or local interactions, the population knew I wasn’t from there. Within the week period, it never felt as though I wasn’t welcomed. On the contrary, Sri Lankans are warm-hearted people, and such hospitality was even greater in the Badulla region.
The everyday fuel came from the people; they kept me within tracks. The greatest difference among previous experiences regards the involvement of the community. Usually one-on-one interviews are guaranteed ways to obtain answers. However, in Badulla and surrounding regions, most of the community wanted to participate. One person would often act as a mediator and talk on behalf of the population, which would then gather around the person as though his/her words represented their communal thoughts.