Monday, October 22, 2012

News from Portland, Oregon, USA

After the naaee conference in Oakland I flew to Portland where Paul venture was happily waiting for me at arrival terminal. It was the first time in this tour some body I know was waiting for me. So I was not worried about calling for a taxi or a hotel shuttle and more relaxed as it was less work for me. It was such a nice feeling to meet somebody who was a teacher 6 years ago and then became a good family friend and now again who is more a peer to share common ideas, views and working together for a common goal...that is "environmental sustainability"...

Touching a Red Wood tree for the first time in my life
Paul has been communicating with Leigh Cohen my programme officer at Eisenhower fellowships and came up with a great plan for 4 days in Portland (Oregon) and Vancouver (Washington state). It was more relaxing Sunday where Paul took me on a long trip for more observational learning which I always loved in my life. Started with a walk along a path where I learnt about Native American culture, then a local farmers' market to talk about traditional food and tasted some rare apples too. Then a long drive along Columbia River Gorge where we talked about different landscapes while walking and driving, river flows, glaciers, water falls, invasive plants (but berries are lovely as I couldn't stop picking them up), traditional jam making industry (tasted all 20 more recipes...yammm....).
Paths are full of information about Native Americans 

Native American art
River Columbia

Wow...its a great a great relaxing but learning day. Paul is a great guide and great teacher of course a great friend!!!
Next day was again learning!  I had a good exposure to a class on Ethno-Botany. It was a field based class where they taught about traditions of Native Americans where there are more commons between our cultures which are rich of sustainability, living with nature. I had a good exposure to the teaching methods, and met some great people who love to hear about my work.

Afternoon was a visit to a high school where I had to talk about Sri Lankan environmental conservation and our river journey we had last year. First it was only for 30 children but the school teacher was so interested so I had to talk for 60 children as they combined 2 classes. It was taken very positively by the teachers and students as they are involved with community projects local and overseas.
Presentation at high school class

Next day we had more "walks and talks" and met with Sharif Abdulla a very good friend of Sri Lanka and a volunteer to Sarvodaya. I have met him several time in Sri Lanka so it was a nice surprise meeting him through Paul. It was also a big surprise to find out he is the author of "The Power of One" a book that we discussed few years back. Sharif directed me to "yes" magazine where I had to give an interview about how our river journey was linked up with reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. So it was the time for me to talk about environmental conservation, youth and peace!

So thank you Paul and Koa taking me around Vancouver and Portland, making me happy and helping me to learn and experience Nature!.
Koa you are a human!

Paul, me and koa!

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