I keep feeling just exhausted, and wondering why. It's been a bizarre few weeks, bodily speaking--I stopped doing yoga, and don't get my hour-plus of regular walks, and eat strange things at strange times. As mentioned below, cognitive dissonance is ongoing.
We have had a rather pleasant few days, including a stay at the lovely and charming Galle Face Hotel (could have played croquet on the floor of our huge room), a scenic though hot train ride up to Kandy, an afternoon of shopping in Kandy (bargains! yay) and so forth. Tomorrow is Mina's fifth birthday party, on which my mother, Grandmaster of Birthday Parties, was called in to consult (games? activities? oh yes). We were supposed to dine with my host family, but they are bizarrely and typically unpredictable. Yesterday I was hollering across the street about the plans for dinner with host-Pa, today I couldn't get host-Sis on the phone, and tonight I was informed by host-maid Chandra, after finally going TO the house to talk, that "they have gone." She knew it was to the hospital but not why or for how long. I am worried about folks' health but also annoyed. They are always like this...
At the same time emails continue to pour in from around the world, offering to adopt, to volunteer, to work with traumatized children, to build, to distribute water. Ha! Water distribution, that's the cool frontlines job I want. Still trying to figure out where to go, what to do, once my mother leaves--one idea is to keep with the international volunteer planning. Another is to get in even tighter with the Feds than I already am. Am going to call USAID on Monday.
My father wants to come here and work for them (or whoever, he says) on the coastal redevelopment. Good on him. He also claims that we should work together as a team; that idea is a little odd to me. What would I do? Sinhala not good enough to be a translator; it's bad to have your highpowered-team-lackey be your daughter, I think. I've met the AID director before (at the depressing election debacle) and we chatted and bonded over exchanging yoga-class information. I hear that a) she's not heading reconstruction bizniz and b) USAID is totally going through Lankan organizations and contractors. We'll see.
The idea of bringing in international consultants is definitely controversial. It's not that they hate foreigners, but that there are people here supposedly capable of doing the work that needs to be done. International NGOs have a reputation for spending their money on expensive foreigners (like ma pere) rather than supporting grassroots/local knowledge and people. God knows there are enough unemployed engineers and architects here. Still, I want more foreigners to have real investment in Lankan communities. I have to see myself in this picture, remember!
Am voraciously tearing through The System of the World and Against Love: A Polemic. It's good to have books, even if they're hardcover and unschleppable. As Lori the novelist-Fulbrighter once said, "I could live with books."