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I am currently exhibiting in the UTS Tower gallery, with BUiLD, and I have a spread in the latest issue of Vertigo (see pages 22-23).  These are all photos from my trips to India and Sri Lanka.  If you can, check it out, some of the prints in the UTS exhibition are massive (A0 size), so you can really experience them!  Let me know what you think.

My Vertigo spread "South Asia through the lens"

Click through for the PDF of the issue of Vertigo!

Yesterday’s work was quite draining, and I got back to the hotel room exhausted. Before I could even have dinner, I collapsed onto my bed and was asleep within minutes. It was only about seven in the evening. I woke up the next morning at about eight: I guess it turned out that I really needed that sleep. As soon as I woke, I ordered a milk tea (or, as it should more appropriately be called, a glass of sugar with a spot of tea and milk in it) which is more effective than Red Bull at keeping my eyes open. Then I started to write all the stories from the day before, and all the progress reports that were to be written.

About four thousand words later, I hear a knock on my door. I am still in my pyjamas. It was my friend from Colombo here to pick me up. It was eleven in the morning. Time flies when writing!

A quick, maybe 5 minute motorbike ride and I am at the office. I eat my usual Mannar breakfast: slightly stale bread and coconut sambal, and then its back to work. More writing. Lots of photo editing (I had to get from about 1300 photos down to less than a hundred, and edit those 100 photos), a touch of video editing. In a blink, everyone had left the office for lunch. Having just eaten breakfast, I kept editing and writing.

When the crew came back from their lunch, I had a few meetings planned, so I had to tear myself away from the keyboard and monitor and get questioning.

My first meeting was with OfERR (Ceylon)’s Mannar Office general council, the absolutely lovely Ms S. Sivalingam. She sat opposite my desk in her pink sari and her long, platted black hair that was frizzy at its ends (made me think it had never been cut) and asked what I wanted. I asked her to try to explain to me the land title system (woohoo, Real Property!) of Sri Lanka and its implications for our Mannar projects.

The Bore Well and Toilets were on the private land of the beneficiary (who had their interests registered [thank you Ms Dorsett]); their interest was protected. The Rice mill was a little more complex: it was on the commons, but had been granted to the local Women’s Rural Development Service (WRDS) by the local Assistant Government Agent (AGA) and Environmental Agency. They had title over the land, and, thus, as beneficiaries of our Mill, our project was safe.

Afterwards, Ms Sivalingam and I chatted about Sri Lanka’s Legal system – it turns out she is an active barrister! She invited me to see one of her cases (which, thankfully, are mostly in English) when I next come to Mannar. How exciting!

I had my lunch at about three in the afternoon (plastic bag of rice and curry, two plastic bags accompanying, “gravy” and “soup”) and began to type again.

The rest of my afternoon was spent planning the rest of my Sri Lanka trip (prospective itinerary goes something like Mannar to Kilinochchi to Mannar to Jaffna to Mannar to Vavunia to Trincomalee back to Colombo). It seemed that I needed to travel all over the country a bit, but that was fine, because even the horrible bus rides are exciting!

Sri Lanka Travel Map

My proposed traipse through Sri Lanka

I also planned to meet with a few other Australian volunteers from different organisations (Diaspora Lanka, Empower, and more) and I am excited to meet Jeremy, Shanil and Shyamika over the course of my trip!

By this time, it was ridiculously late (almost midnight), and the videos I was trying to upload were still uploading, so I left my laptop in the office, hopped on the motorbike and got back home to my lovely hotel room.

Since today was almost solely an office day, and, thus, there weren’t any photos, here are a few of my photos from the last couple of days that didn’t fit into the stories I was telling, but I still loved.

A gang of schoolchildren with their Unicef Backpacks

A gang of schoolchildren with their Unicef Backpacks

The son of a beneficiary outside his house (2)

The son of a beneficiary outside his house

A water-lilly in a pond supplying water to the paddy fields

A water-lilly in a pond supplying water to the paddy fields

A strange oasis in the rice field

A strange oasis in the rice field

Out trishaw driver "Driver Master"

Out trishaw driver "Driver Master"

A soldier (shot this photo so he would let me through his checkpoint -- a vanity bribe)

A soldier at a checkpoint who didn't want to let me through until he saw my camera and asked me to take a new "Facebook Name Picture" for him - a vanity bribe

A kid resting in his field

A kid resting in his field

The road home, over the bridge and on to Mannar island

Mannar Causeway

English lessons

English lessons

A cute baby in the village we are building a bore well in

A cute baby in the village we are building a bore well in

A man in Nedunkandal

A man in Nedunkandal

A boy and his akka

A boy and his akka

 

A beautiful flower in a beneficiary's garden

A beautiful flower in a beneficiary's garden

A kid who is getting access to fresh water through our bore well project

A kid who is getting access to fresh water through our bore well project

A boy and his father in the village where our well is being built

A boy and his father in the village where our well is being built

The orphan nephew of one of our beneficiaries (3)

The orphan nephew of one of our beneficiaries of the toilet construction project

The morning commute

The morning commute