Crista Arangala

Author Archive

Jan 15 2011


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Chaminda and Zach

Slender Loris with her baby
Chas teaches the rangers a song
Natalie with her new friends
The children waiting for us

Mural complete with many helping hands

Liz with a baby turtle

Jan 15 2011

What adventures

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Well all of the kids are telling you such adventures and I am pleased to say that they all seem to be still in really good spirits. We came tonight to Nuwara Eliya after a 13 hour van ride (a bit longer than expected but that is the Sri Lanka way). They all took the ride in stride and never once complainned and tonight about half of them will be off to trek up Adam’s Peek, a pilgrimage site for people of all religions, and will see the sun rise on top at 6:10 am. I am staying back with a few but we will also have some exciting adventures in Nuwara Eliya.

Jan 11 2011

happy banana, happy kids, happy pericleans

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Yo! It’s Shelly. Apparently my password isn’t working. So I’m signed in under Dr. Crista’s user name. The first thing our tour guide Riza told us when we boarded our mini bus about three days ago was: “Sometimes things work. Sometimes they do not. This is Sri Lanka. You want things to be perfect, you go back to USA.” Well, lookie here, even America can’t get it right. I have to say I am enjoying this island lifestyle. It’s nice to be a little disconnected and out exploring this country we have been so eagerly anticipating to visit. Apologies from this end. We are soaking up, sometimes literally, our limited time here. Finally we are seeing our projects in the flesh.

Speaking of projects, we visited the Panangala Junior School today up in the rain forest to see the library extension to the one single classroom that is half of their school. Though we were told to expect a very large welcome, I don’t think any of us were prepared for the ongoing ceremonies of songs and dances performed by each grade of the elementary school. We had tea, clearly. And offered the several suitcases and boxes of books and school supplies to make their new library come alive. Though it was uncomfortable to us Americans in the beginning, each child bowed individually on their knees in thanks to receive them. Though their appreciation was obvious, I think I speak for the thirteen of us when I say that the day was all about the kids, not us. We learned that we were expected to perform our own form of expression of appreciation, which we concluded on the spot to be an impromptu version of Lean On Me. Pretty fitting, don’t y’all think?  We are now staying in Galle, a coastal town a few hours south of Colombo, at a small and laid back place called Happy Banana. Even the bus driver giggles at the name of our new accommodation. Some things don’t need translation. Sri Lankans, in general, have a very lively sense of humor! So yesterday I turned 22. Before arriving to Happy Banana, we did a couple touristy things. If nothing else, we gained some insight into the rich environmental assets this beautiful island nation possesses and which need to be preserved. Mangroves and rain forests are some. Cinnamon is another. Oh yeah, and mangos. Don’t forget the mangos. Also, I held a baby turtle. Happy Birthday to me!  The other night in our daily meeting, we shared our first impressions of Sri Lanka and compared our experiences thus far to our experiences prior to our departure. The first thing that comes to mind is that this place is a very dynamic one. “It is a land of extremes,” Sina Jones from The American Centre stated in our preliminary meeting with her where we received many new contacts for furthering our many initiatives. We have seen one side of Sri Lanka in the capital city but as we left Colombo, we notice how complex this country really is. More to be explained later, as I think I have reached my capacity, sitting on the beach under the strings of lights. Time to enjoy the good company which is my fellow Pericleans and new Sri Lankan friends!

Jan 07 2011

we are here and well

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Hi all we arrived in Colombo early morning on Jan 7. We had a very busy day and all are very tired but resting. Jesse, Jack, and Chas took off immediately for all the awesome heritage sites with my brother in law Chatura. our 1st day included some swimming at 7am, a great breakfast at the Galadari Hotel, some trying to eat their hands, then off to lots of meetings. We went to see Sina Jones at the US Embassy for a wonderful conversation. Then students went exploring for lunch and had interesting adventures that I will let them share in later blog entries. Mett Dr Rosa at University of Colombo and Amelie,Katie, and Angie meet with a Microfinance institution. Great stuff. Everyone early to bed with evening meeting postponed until today. It is almost 6am on Saturday morning here and suspect some are already up and ready as I am. today city tour. students will blog today so check back.

Jan 05 2011

Here we go

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The day is finally here. Can’t wait to see all of you guys in NY. Moms and Dads don’t forget to check back often as we will be posting every day!