My favorite place? Is Arugam Bay

I have decided that Arugam Bay is, so far, my favorite place in Sri Lanka. A?The first day I arrived, I took a long walk on the beach and on the way back, the sun was starting to set.

Arugam Bay Beach. file photo

If I believed in God, (not sure), I would be convinced that I had witnessed the gates of heaven opening. A?I have never seen anything as magnificent as the sun rays going up toward the sky and the clouds outlined in gold. A?The picture does it no justice but of course I didn’t have my camera with me!d so my friend took the picture but a moment late. A?The sunrises were almost equal. A?(All the pictures are on Facebook and Snapfish if anyone wants to see them.)

I am quite fortunate with my work these days, not because I am doing so much but because I don’t seem to have the hassles so many other volunteers here and in other countries have with bosses and coworkers. A?I had a long talk with our Psychiatrist the other day, sharing ideas about changes that I think would be helpful, showing him our mandate for mental health in this country and talking about utilizing staff in new ways. A?I told him I had been putting this conversation off because in ward rounds he was so busy. A?He said I can always interrupt him, he wants to hear me and he thanked me for constantly reminding him to refer patients for counseling, that there is more then medication, that all patients don’t need it; you know bringing those things up could get me in trouble with other staffs. A?Yes, I am fortunate. Actually he is now committed to referring every patient who tries “deliberate self harming” for counseling. The biggest problem is of course there are no psychologists in this country and very few trained counselors so it is an afterthought to refer. A?Fortunately there is one counselor from Women In Need who can see our referrals. Last week we had a meeting with my big boss, the Provincial Director of Health Services. A?She is a very dynamic and powerful woman. I totally respect and admire her, but, I kept harping on our need for transportation for community mental health work. A?That is the direction they want, that is partly what this big meeting was about. A?She got quite annoyed with me. A?After the meeting I asked her if she wanted me to fly home! A?I do not worry about these things. A?I keep my mouth shut a lot and find other means to get things done but ultimately if I need to say something I do. A?What can happen, I am asked to leave?

Last blog I mentioned about diapers (nappies) not being used. A?Now I have discovered that children sleep in the same room sometimes in the same bed with their parents until 10 to 12 years old. A?When they are moved into another room, siblings even girls and boys, share a bedroom. A?People think it is terrible to have to sleep alone (actually I do too but for very different reasons!) Anyway, I of course asked how they manage to have sex, if the kids hear one would discuss it that day, quite a lot of giggling and laughing about it. A?It’s really hilarious to me that in the States people would more easily have a sex discussion then a discussion about money; here it is the opposite, people tell me everything about their money, earnings, loans.

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