Wow it is hard to believe so much time has passed since I last made an entry here. Time for me has been passing so fast I can hardly believe it. However, as I look forward to my departure date I think it is going to be such a long time coming in the future that it might not ever get here. However, it is the 1st of October and now it is just a matter of going from event to event in order to parcel the time and make things go a bit faster. This month there are a couple of things slated. Our director of international programs is coming into town on Wednesday and the international team leader and I are going to the Kandyan Kingdom to visit some schools around the 16th or so. A new face will also be here next week as a new project gets started. I will also do a bit of sightseeing and other things on the weekends. The nice thing is that now I will have some spare time on the weekends to make these trips since our major work is now complete. What I mean by this is the hardcore designing of materials is now complete as we are well into our provincial trainings. This means no more late nights or 12 hour days on the weekends. Thank God! Not that I was wearing out or anything it just gets a bit old after a while. I really love the work I am doing out here as well as the personalities involved.
Speaking of loving my work I might just have the opportunity to extend my stay out here. As I mentioned, my international team leader is coming and one of his major mandates is to see if he can extend our stay another month. I may have already mentioned this but it turns out that this project is a bit short as far as how many months have been put in by the people who have worked at several positions. So there is a good possibility that I will get an extension. I was waffling a bit earlier in the week whether I wanted to take the offer or not but now I have settled into a positive place and would like to take the opportunity if it should arise. If I do get the extension, I presume I would be leaving here around the 29th of January since that is the last day on my visa. We will see how things go.
Well the trainings have been going very well. I had a challenging time this past Monday though. The main reason things got so clogged up was because the provincial IT managers who were supposed to get the accounts set up for the participants before they came to the workshop didn’t do their job. Actually one of the IT managers did his job and the other didn’t. Well what I mean is one group had accounts set up but they didn’t have the passwords to access their accounts. It was very lucky that one of the people in the group remembered the password and it worked for everyone. The other group didn’t have a darn thing. So the hassle came from trying to get a local instance of Moodle created in the lab to get the rest of the folks on and running since there was no hope of getting them into the real system. The people at the lab were supposed to get this done last week but it was not finished and took quite a bit to complete. Thankfully, I was able to improvise and give them time to finish their task. Everything turned out fine in the end with evaluations being very positive and only a few links being broken in the local instance. I have learned from my mistakes and I will be in the lab next week to make sure things are properly setup for our next training. Something tells me we will run into this problem again.
The next day started out a bit rough because the support staff member who was supposed to collect the information required to get these folks their accounts cut off their national ID numbers when he scanned the document. I just decided to let things go and just roll with the punches. As it turns out one of the local consultants is very influential and has enough pull to create accounts without national ID numbers. The training went very well and it rebounded in superb fashion.
Well I continue to have technical difficulties out here. The latest bug is my wireless modem is not functioning at a speed that allows me to work effectively. I did some research and found out that I have exceeded my monthly quota of up/downloads. This annoys me to no end and I have been trying to get things back to normal. Yesterday the guy at the local consultancy that deals with these types of things was not there. Today he wouldn’t get off his butt and do anything and I was at home sick so he just placated the office manager when I had her call several times. I think I am just going to have to go over there tomorrow and get in his face since all that is required to get things moving again is a fax and 100 Rs.($.80) a day until the next billing cycle begins…Well I left this for a while and now that I am back I have an option. I called Tech Support and they told me all I have to do is send a text requesting “more” and I will have my internet back! I am very pleased. I will wait until the morning so I can let the proper people know about this before it is done. Small courtesies go a long way.
So I just got off the phone with my landlord. He is visiting from Chicago. He is a native Sri Lankan and quite a nice guy indeed. I am very impressed. He called just to check on me since as I mentioned I have been home today with a mild case of dysentery. He also offered to take some stuff back for me and mail it back to my folks. I think this is totally awesome as I can go back to the art fence and hook it up with another painting or two and also send back the mask I got in Ambalangoda. How cool is that?
So what about the title of the article you might be thinking to yourself. Well this is the first phrase I have learned here besides hari which means OK, hondai which means good, komade which means how’s it going, and of course ama which means mother. My buddy downstairs who had the cloves taught me this today after I saw him and got his report back on what he thought of our chile. He really enjoyed it and said that it was not too hot for him. However, he mixed what I gave him with rice so I think it had a good kick for him.
That’s all for now folks. I promise I will try to write more often. Until then…