Monday, March 11, 2013

Officially two days before the Paapedi; it is full steam ahead with preparations!

Hello, my name is Jie Chen, an international Eco Friendly Volunteer who just arrived in Sri Lanka about a 36 hours ago from San Francisco, California. Immediately I was warmly welcomed into Kanchana’s home, which doubles as Eco-V’s headquarters, and by her team of volunteers who have been working tirelessly to put together various components of the bicycle journey for climate justice.

I met Kanchana for the first time in November 2012 when she paid the Crissy Field Center a visit. We were sharing about each other’s work with young people and I could immediately see the passion she had about her work in developing a more environmentally conscious and just society in her home country of Sri Lanka.

I was drawn to participate in this journey for many reasons. One of which was the immense potential for an exchange of learning of best practices and also a professional development opportunity for myself. It was also a great opportunity to see how, through the journey of a 10 day bike ride, young leaders would be inspired and trained to become tomorrow’s environmental stewards.

In the past 36 hours I have been able to witness the hustle and bustle of Eco-V’s office (in no particular order):
          ·         endless phone calls, faxes, and errand running to manage and changes and finalize and confirm plans
          ·         media studio interviews and communication with two major Sri Lanka networks Sirasa and MTV Sports
          ·         The pick up of supplies: bikes, helmets, repair equipment, water bottles, t-shirts, first aid, pamphlet and curriculum materials, and more
          ·         the organizing of the camera crew (Kanchana’s own brother) to document the journey and the stories of the ride
          ·         updating social media outlets

I look forward to the next couple days when the yathra (journey) officially begins. We will jump right onto a train and head towards Anuradhapura where all the yathris will convene together for the first time from different areas of Sri Lanka. We will start riding 28.4km towards the town of Thambuttegama in the first leg of our 234km journey.

Please continue to visit this blog for more updates in the next few days!

Jie Chen

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