Posts Tagged ‘ experience ’

Plight of youths!

September 15, 2012

“Youths” If you google the word, there will be more than 795,000,000 results in less than 0.39 seconds. Read any national daily, the word will be mentioned at least twice. Policymakers, leaders, social-workers, writers all love the dearly. “Catalysts of change”, “Backbone of the country”, “Pillars of the nation” are how youths are defined, attributed and referred to. Youths, who together make about 18% of the global Homo sapiens population, are the major focus of any system or ideology. Because youths are a good resource for any country, if a country invests on youth, it ensures sustainability of the country. Globally, Billions of dollars projects run on youths alone. Name any area, you will find many youth clubs, networks and organizations dedicated overtly to build the capacity of youths. Come August 10, the whole world focuses on youths; with the whole day dedicated to youths, many competition, program, trainings, events will be organized globally and locally for youths. Why are youths important? The youth is the future, and timely, effective investment in youth is the key to making that future prosperous and viable, both economically and socially. The future is changing rapidly. The trend of change is so dynamic that within years, we have moved from tapes to flash drives, from desk phones to touch pads. The change is dynamic, inevitable and the youths are the agents of these change. Youths can accept the change and acclimatize the society with the change. I am a youth myself, a 22 year old; with all the zeal to bring about good changes and the grit to hang on till I make my mark in this “youth-friendly” world. I was quite lucky to get some of these trainings; prove myself at such competitions, learn from various occasions. We travel around, and take part in seminars, and when we cannot, we google around and take part in webinars but learn anyway. In this information age, with all the “youth-friendly” opportunities I and my fellow youths strive for knowledge, find opportunities at our fingertips, learn, share and grow. Lucky us!

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Home-Stay Experience- Back to the nature :)

October 2011

It was flooding in Bangkok during our Preparatory course; one of the worst cases Thailand had seen. Since, Fk Preparatory courses mandatorily need the participants to stay at local homes for at least two nights, our course organizers at AIT were in awe to find homes because of the flooding incidents. The purpose of home-stay in the preparatory course is to make the participants have the experience of living in the worst situation with minimal facilities; exposed to foreign food, foreign culture with minimal or nil English. All participants had to stay with a Thai family and would not be allowed to contact other participants during the period. I had heard earlier participants complaining that the home-stay experience during the prep course was tougher than their whole stay in their respective host countries.
Now, the usual villages for the home-stay were flooded, our organizers selected a village in Chochaengsao Province for our home-stay experience; only this time all it was not a home we were heading to and all the participants were going to be together. 🙂 So, all the participants got into two vans as we travelled to Chocheangsao Province. It was an amazing drive as we left the concrete Bangkok behind and into the green Thai Countryside. Wanakaset learning Center situated at Sanam Chaiket Chaochengsao is actually the name of the agro-forest and a network of agroforest practitioners . So, we were heading into a forest, private but still a forest. When we arrived there, we were awestruck. As we moved inside the forest, through a narrow track, we could see a modest bamboo hut perched into the wild and a stream flowing right below it. So perfectly in harmony with nature!
As we dropped our bags and looked around we saw that this was more like a camp, with two spaces to sleep (no doors or barred windows); all built with bamboo sticks and the amazing stream flowing right below you. Mosquitoes were there and we were warned about the leeches but well it was all part of this broad “into the wild” experience. The owner then welcomed us and briefed us on the basic rules. We were supposed to cook in shifts, there would be local help and we had to do our own dishes. We were also requested not to use our shampoo, soap, detergents and even toothpaste and were provided with more organic, non-foaming, eco-friendly alternatives. We were then shown around the land; the huge expanse where many tress, herbs and crops of ecological and medicinal values were conserved sustainably. Later in the evening, we were briefed by the owner and introduced to the story behind Wanakaset. Wanakaset actually means “forest agriculture” and it also refers to the farming concept which goes beyond agricultural production to look at self-sufficiency and the relationship between man and his natural environment and resources. The idea was practiced and preached by Pooyai Viboon Khemchalerm. A farmer by profession, he had been attracted to the cash crop production and chemical farming and its preliminary gains once upon a time only to be plunged into loss of fertilityof his land and severe debts. Then, he had accepted and submitted to the power of nature. He had then switched to sustainable farming practices or Wanakaset. The current owner, his son is also abiding by his father’s doctrine “if you take care of the nature, nature will take care of you.” A simple, yet vital idea! An inspiration for all! Continue reading

trip to kovil

5th November 2011.
“So, you are a Hindu?” my supervisor had asked. “I am a Hindu-Buddhist”, I had replied. “But you go to a Kovil, don’t you?”I was bewildered. “Kovil? No, I go to a temple”. “We call it Kovil there, the Hindu temple, where Tamils go?” he had added with a smile. This conversation was almost a month ago, during our first meeting in Thailand. He had said that there were many Kovil, less than Buddhist temples of course, but quite many. The nearest one was in Welawatta and it was the most famous one in Colombo. “But I don’t want you to go alone,” he had added,”It’s not safe for girls to go around alone, especially the foreign girls”.
This was the cautionary statement that he added in our every conversation about Sri Lanka. He is scared; concerned for me. I wondered if he is worried so much because I act too immature for my age or just because of the fact that I am a foreign girl. I am after all his responsibility in Sri Lanka. Humph!
Anyways, I had a long weekend and there was no one to take me around Colombo. I had wasted my previous weekend too due to the similar reason. So, I decided to go alone at least to the Kovil, despite my supervisor’s concerns. My supervisor is a nice guy; a wonderful guardian and a good-hearted fellow. I didn’t want to lie to him, so instead I talked to my co-supervisor, convinced her (in a way) and then went around. I had searched for the place in Google map, learnt the routes by heart and written all the place names in my book (the names are pretty hard, I must say). My flat-mate had suggested that I take an AC bus. But I wouldn’t exactly be feeling Colombo, with the AC around me now, would I? She still warned me that I should not go alone, but I didn’t listen. In fact everyone whom I told of my plan had said “Oh! So you are going? Alone? Do you know the way? Don’t talk to anyone. Take an AC bus and come back soon.” So many warnings, as if I was on to find another America! So, I got out of the flat at 3:30 pm, with all the warnings and cautions, and waited for the bus. But no bus came. So, I walked to Katubedda junction and got on the bus to Colombo. It wasn’t an AC bus and though it was hot, I kind of enjoyed it. Luckily, the bus conductor could reply in English as well. So, I get off at Wellawatta but the conductor said that the Kovil was still a stop away. The Kovil was actually in Welawatta- Bambalapitiya border. So, I got on the bus again, people were nice. They smiled at me and asked me if I was a tourist. Some of them even drew maps for me voluntarily to show me the directions. I got off the bus, at the correct stop this time, and across the road I could see the Kovil, Sri Manika Binayakaga Kovil. Continue reading