I’ve been saying since I arrived in Sri Lanka that the country calls forth a wide range of highly varied emotional and intellectual responses in me. As my farewell (at least for now) to Sri Lanka, I present a portfolio of shots from all over the island. I’ll let the captions tell most of the story, with this small introduction up front. In early February – shortly after finishing that last mammoth posting about Cambodia and Thailand, which I hope you’ve all taken some time to digest! – I finally had the opportunity to visit our field project in Point Pedro, up at the northern tip of the Jaffna peninsula. Never visiting a project, never seeing the patients and populations we’re here to serve, has been perhaps the single most difficult aspect of this assignment for me.
Members of the capital team never see our patients or the daily life in our projects anywhere near as much as the field teams – but at least in China I was able to get to one or the other of the projects usually at least once a month, and some months I went to both projects. Here, circumstances have conspired to limit me to one field visit over the course of a 7-1/2 month assignment. After that, there were two more lovely weekend trips out of Colombo so I could see a bit more of the island before leaving it: 24 hours at Mirisa on the south coast (with my good friends and colleagues Ulises and Violet, counterpars from the other MSF sections whom you saw pics from Violet’s and my farewell) and 48 hours in mountainous Ella all on my own to catch my breath and clear my lungs in the mountain air before focusing on the handover to my replacement.