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Today officially marks the one month anniversary of my move to Sri Lanka. I’m finding that as with any new venture, one should expect to be buffeted by the wind for this amount of time, and know you’ll eventually find your footing. I’m glad that I arrived with this knowledge, as it has made adjusting to my new life that much easier. I’m not sure of the best way to describe culture shock, but in this case it has been a matter of learning everything about Emerge and about Sri Lanka from the inside out- sometimes the best perspective, sometimes the worst.

We spent Thanksgiving here, an oh-so-American holiday and my first away from my family in the States. I realized that I’m thankful for a lot. I’m thankful to have a network of family and friends who love and support me. I’m thankful to have been born into a life of “privilege,” in which I have always had food, shelter, and education and can make *some* decisions based on choice and not necessity. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the constant companionship, support, perspective and guidance from Ellen and Nirukshi, my allies here in Sri Lanka. And lastly, I’m so happy to share, teach, and learn from the amazing girls in the Emerge program.

General Emerge development is going great. Although I know that my personal productivity is not 100% yet, we have accomplished much since my arrival. The first couple of weeks were spent identifying big picture goals and direction, the last couple were more detail oriented. Now that Ellen is in the States for a bit (on Emerge business,) the teamwork/brainstorming has taken on a whole new character, and I’m doing more independent work. My focuses this month are on finalizing the Bead Program Protocol and implementation plan (a more structured version of the program we’re already running), and on general outreach and jewelry design.

Next week promises a couple of meetings, a fashion event, and information gathering trips to local design schools and boutiques. Now- off to the girls Christmas party that Nirukshi has planned so thoroughly!


April W

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