In Feb 2017, I set out on a trip to Sri Lanka to find my answers. After an intense one year of Masters in Social Entrepreneurship, it was emotionally overwhelming for me to picture my purpose, burning with a restless soul I wanted to find my place in the world. To explore what my heart connects with? way of giving back? the cause that I can take responsibility of and make it the reason for my existence.
UNDP – AIESEC facilitated voluntouring, training, travelling and hopping around Sri Lanka to schools, churches and village centres. I chose sustainable development goal 5 to teach the locals and create awareness about gender bias related affects ; if possible convince them to break out of the social stigma they are told to live with. It’s true, that by giving back to the community, things begin to settle down for an other start of what I call my independent introduction to social action !
Sri Lanka is a long long story for a single shot. Hence, I breakdown down my moments of Impact and share about my uniquely special expiriences. Here is one such story from Sri Lanka of a boy who wrote a letter to me after I gave the session on Gender Equality at school, for the 6 th grade. He was shy to speak out. Yes, even strong boys can be shy to speak up. I call him strong because of what he wrote in the letter. Below attached is the image of the letter from the boy.
What did you feel after reading his letter ? That it is a common teenage ritual which I am exageratting? Instead, lets look at the other side of the most common.
The young boy took the initiative to write down his problem. He cares, thus, he is strong.
He is feeling scared of being supportive to his female friend.
At such a young age he is worried about society making up stories. Who is the society? What are we ignoring while providing education? Peer pressure is unavoidable, but societal pressure for a kid ?
He is thinking about his friend’s trouble, dealing with his reputation, confused about right and wrong, holding back to speak up because he knows he might be isolated further and still able to balance himself.
He did not stop helping his friend. He is perseverant and is ready to think about a sustainable solution.
I answered him to do the right thing confidently and share with trusted elders about the situation in detail without being scared like how he came up to me.
Society means nobody if we don’t account ourselves into it. Children are continuously learning from surroundings. His letter showed me how it feels to reach your first milestone in life. But there are millions of children confused in the context of contaminating gender inequality.
Hope his letter gives you something valueble too that inspires you to act.
My husband and I were returning from Australia to India with a layover in Sri Lanka for a day . That’s when we decided to explore the nearby places and ended up in a cozy traveler’s hostel at Galle Fort, Sri Lanka to unwind for an hour. When I reached out to get a view of the anciently tucked luxurious streets from our balcony, saw this guy with a Lonely Planet book and a fifteen year old translator greeting a warm-filled happy ‘ Hello My Fraiendd’ ! After all when you are looking for an experience, never miss taking forward to have that exciting conversation just because you don’t know the language. ( the three of us had a very good time for that one hour before we left)
Homecoming – Oier actually came back to see us in India before leaving to Spain. That one day taught me a lot about life when I learnt that he decided to spend his limited time and resources to meet us and not touring few more places instead. He showed a gesture that exhales soo much Value.
Aura – He is a farmer in The Basque country, empath yet an individual non perfectionist who believes in sudden plans, instant hugs, spreading humor and endless sarcasm.
Celebrating differences – He embraced how different things were, never compared or complaint. While he indulged on ‘India food feast’ he also cooked his local dishes for us. He serenely enjoyed the elements that made him uncomfortable because he could see through people.
Musical Nostalgia – While we held to the collections from i tunes, Spotify etc. During his stay with us we found unbelievable sources/collection from the local radio stations back in The Basque country. Like he came with gift boxes full of music we love but haven’t heard before.
Co existence – Oier not only connected with us two but also owned everyone we know here. He made memories with everything that is connected to us that he experienced during his stay. He connects on a human level for easily becoming a part of where he is.
The Game Of Thrones – When he showed us the videos of his country, we realized it is the same location where Danerys lands on the Dragonstone. And then he tells us about the many other locations we see in the GOT t.v show and awe about are just less than a thirty min drive for him. Theplace we grow up reflects in our approach towards life.
Blissful Goodbye -His goodbye remained, igniting a dream for us to go there in search of him ; so that he can play his character in our life’s movie to once again to broaden the horizons and grow.
Travel is my happiness therapy that I always look forward to almost everyday of my life if I had a chance. Short, long or just a day day trip doesn’t matter but what we see and whom we meet becomes a deep touchdown element in us. Leaving certain places does not feel like a goodbye sometimes. These beautiful places with beautiful people with beautiful hearts and their stories are embedding impactful take away tales. Here is one of mine for you !In the state of Himachal Pradesh, from Kasol we took a mountain motorcycle to explore The Great Himalayas without a plan for that day. That’s when on the way towards the direction of Tosh village we found a tiny paradise with a personal waterfall gifted by nature. It was called ‘The waterfall Cafe ‘.
–The amazing woman who runs that cafe, tying her one year old to the waist and sprinting from from one to an other rock. – The ideal and most dramatic waterfall that enlarges the simple hut into an exotic affair. – The time taking, customised and freshly cooked meal in her sustainable yet challenging kitchen according to the availability of resources for that day. – Serenity with a complex mix of solitude of the mighty snowcapped mountains and extravagantly decorated valleys as a view! – Stories we heard about the surrounding villages, off beat trekking trails, exotic local life, real challenges they have to deal with, their definition of happiness and the experience of meeting a person who is not even touched by the first ray of how urban lives process. – I cannot wait to mention the soul soothing music by the spluttering water from the waterfall echoing in the majestic affinity. – A wooden bridge to leap for a further views and changing colours.