Category Archives: JICA

One day in Japan

Standard

After over two years of working in Sri Lanka, I’m convinced more than ever that cultural exchange activities are integral responsibility of a JICA volunteer.  My last event with Serendipity Trust, was “One Day in Japan.”  We spent the day with tech school students in the Japanese program, introducing them to the breadth of Japanese culture: Kimonos, Origami, Calligraphy, J-pop/Anime and even sushi.  Their motivation was overwhelming.  In a couple years, they’ll be in Japan, dressing Japanese kids up in sarees and feeding them curry!

赴任2年経過、いまだに思う事:文化紹介・交流は協力隊員としてとても重要な任務。Serendipity Trustと最後のエベントは「日本での一日」

専門学校で日本語を専攻している生徒たちと一日かけて浴衣・折り紙・書道・J-pop・寿司を体験した。とても熱心で感動した。いつか日本に行って日本の生徒たちにスリランカについて紹介して欲しい。がんばれ!

PC Cleaning

Standard

My computer had been acting up lately so I decided to open it up.  I cleaned up the cooling fan and along with lots of dust I found ants, spider parts and wings from some other something.  I’ll avoid pointing out the obvious pun here (you know, the one about how my computer had bugs, literally).  It’s running much cooler and faster now, and only had 3 screws left over.  No big deal, right?

最近PCの調子が悪かったので開けてみた。クーリングファンあたりを掃除したら沢山のホコリの他アリとクモの破片や良くわからない虫の羽などが発掘された。スリランカ生活のおかげかな。隊員の皆さん、データバックアップしましょうね!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Proof of time

Standard

住んでいる場所によって「よく話す話題」ってあるよね。アメリカならテレビや天気の事よく話してた記憶がある。日本なら必ず年齢や学年の話になる。スリランカで一番よくする話と言うと、「スリランカに来てからどれくらい経つか」について。

どこ行って何をしてても、「何人?来てどれくらい?」とすぐ(飽きるくらい、すぐ!)聞かれる。おかげて、答えるのも上達した。来た当初は「月、3つ前、来た、スリランカに」のように答えてた。それが「来たのは4月前」、「5か月前にスリランカに来た」、「スリランカに来て半年が経つ」とドンドンナチュラルに進化していく会話。

最近その会話がまた変わってきた。「来てどれくらい」じゃなく、「後どれくらい」に話が変わっている。ちょっと驚いている。。。

「後3か月」と言っているのが、「あっ」と言う間に2ヶ月、1ヶ月、2週間。

気付いたら、来週、明日、と時間は流れるんだろうな。

 

Every country has their default topic of conversation.  In the US, I remember people talked a lot about TV and the weather.  In Japan, people talk about age.  In Sri Lanka, the thing I talk about most is how long I’ve been here.  No matter where I am or what I am doing, curious locals just HAVE to know, “How long have you been here?”  I have no idea why they ask, or what they will do with this information, but it seems to bring them joy, so I answer.

At first it was more or less “It has been months 3 ago since I came.”  But being asked EVERY SINGLE DAY, you can’t help but improve.

“Months 4 before, I came.”

“I’ve been here half a year”

Over time , it joins the natural background chatter and you cease to notice.

But lately, I’ve started noticing again.  I’m noticing because of a profound difference.  The conversation has changed from “I’ve been here for 3 months” to “I have 3 months left.”

When did this happen?  I don’t know.  but no doubt this “3 months left” will turn into “next month”, then “next week”, then “tomorrow” before I know it as well.

Proof that time exists, and it flies as well!

Peace Boat Fukushima Youth Project 2014

Standard

Peace Boat and Fukushima Youth Project, in Sri Lanka

In their ongoing support of the disaster affected Tohoku region, Peace Boat travelled with a group of elementary and junior high school kids from Minamisouma.  Minamisouma is a city in Fukushima severely affected by the nuclear disaster.  Study, play, forced relocation…every aspect of their lives were affected.

 

The participants spent a couple of weeks onboard sailing from Japan, to Singapore, and finally to Sri Lanka, where they came by to see ME!  A fellow chemist and I took them through the labs.  Of course we talked about the tests and experiments we do, but we also talked about how labs in Sri Lanka and Japan are different, about safety and hygiene.  We even had discussions about deep things like “what is volunteerism?” and “what is development?”

 

With all that they have been through, I was very glad to see that they were so eager and optimistic about the outside world.  Maybe it was just the fact that these were kids, spending their spring break traveling the oceans with other kids, but their happiness was contagious and gave me a much needed boost of motivation to continue working to improve water safety in Sri Lanka.

 

These kids certainly have a unique view on the meaning of life.  It’s inspiring and tragic at the same time, but I have no doubt they’ll keep being awesome and make real, positive change in the world.
Also great to see old friends, in new places!

 

ピースボート、福島子どもプロジェクト、in スリランカ

春休みを使って小中学生たちが世界の船旅を出来る「ピースボート福島子どもプロジェクト」がスリランカに寄港!そして、なんと、僕の活動先に訪問しに来てくれた。「スリランカのラボなんて見て楽しいのかな。。。」と緊張してたけど、同僚ケミストの協力も得て結構楽しい時間を過ごせた。

 

ラボツアーをしながら、「日本とスリランカの違い」とか「安全・衛生」についてかなり熱く語ってくれる子どもたち。「ボランティアって、何?」「開発って、何?」見たいな深~い話も!

 

僕が想像できる以上大変な現状と向かい合っている子どもたち。でも、あんなに仲良く、明るく、前向きで。。。尊敬した。この子たちは政治や世界や人生について今までなかったような考えて方をしている気がする。今までなかったような素晴らしい大人になって行くと思う。

詳細リンク (links…no English)

http://pbv.or.jp/blog_fukushima/

http://pbv.or.jp/download/other/20140529_FukushimaKids_Report.pdf

Dirty Work

Standard

Today, we went go get some algae samples.  What better spot than Beira Lake in the heart of Colombo!

We had to make sure we got really really good samples, so we:

Sampled from the dock

SONY DSC

……………………………………………………………………

Then the park,

SONY DSC

……………………………………..

Then from the middle, by paddle duck

SONY DSC

………………………………

It’s a tough, dirty job, but someone has to do it.  You’re welcome!

音楽ワークショップマーライ@スランガニ

Standard

課外活動が続きます。今回はスリランカの子供達にスリランカでは珍しい楽器や聞きなれてない音楽を紹介する音楽ワークショップ「マーライ」活動の日記。マーライと言うのはシンハラ語で「格好いい、いいね!」的な意味がある。スリランカのブッタラと言う町あるスランガニ基金 (http://www.surangani.org/jp/)の施設。子供の特別支援学校のクリスマスイベントに参加させてもらった。踊って、歌って楽しかった!写真に語ってもらうと:

More extracurricular activities.  We recently started a group to introduce Sri Lankan kids to new musical instruments and music styles.  We had the fortune of being invited to Little Tree Special Children’s Center in Buttal, Sri Lanka to take part in their Winter Performance.  Little Tree is a school for special needs children supported by Surangani Volunteer Services (http://www.surangani.org/jp/).  We sang and danced and had a good great time!

SONY DSC

Opening Ceremony

SONY DSC

子供達のPerformance!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

踊って、歌って、楽しい1日でした!