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John Ainger in Sri Lanka

John Ainger, a Community Friends’ intern, has been traveling in Sri Lanka and sharing his insights. John will be attending University of Sussex in the fall. He is studying micro-enterprise and ecological economics with Community Friends.

After a long flight from London via Bahrain, I have just arrived at my hotel in Negombo with Jeewa, the naturalist for Community Friends. It is quite the flight into Colombo. Colombo is right next to the Second biggest lagoon in Sri Lanka (Jeewa hit me with his first fact) and it is very daunting as you fly low over this stretch of water. It is about 31 degrees Celsius but it is starting to cool and the infamous Sri Lankan mosquitoes are just waking up to begin the hunt…

Jeeva and John

Already I have an early insight into the role Community Friends has to play in Sri Lanka. On the flight over from Bahrain I sat next to a lady who had clearly been removed from her home village to work in Bahrain as a servant. Initially I presumed she had been holidaying in Bahrain, but when she said she wasn’t I began to recall some of the stories I have been told about young women being taken from their home to work in the Middle East.

I asked her what Bahrain was like she said quietly, ‘Bahrain nice, Bahrain people not nice’. I decided not to ask any more on that topic but told her my plans. She seemed very happy to be coming home. I presume she could not read English as she did not recognize the names of the places I was going to on the map. I have to say I did not realize that I would so soon discover the implications of lack of education for a woman in Sri Lanka.

Jeewa knows everyone. Even those he doesn’t know, he knows. It’s quite remarkable. I think we passed a dozen long lost friends on the road as we traveled northeast from Negombo to Kandy!

John Ainger
Community Friends’ Intern