Farewell, Kutpai, Ayubowan Sri Lanka

Looking back on all that I experienced, there are two things that surface over and over – the people and of course the food.  I was lucky to be working with a bunch of ladies who love to cook, and eat and love to try different foods.  Lunchtimes every day when I was in  my Colombo base, ended up being a smorgasbord of foodie delights – everyone ended up giving a spoonful of their dish to everyone at the table, and in return you got taste 6-8 other dishes – Sri Lanka’s version of a cookie swap.

The BIZ+ Colombo office team, all in red celebrating International Women’s Day – March 8, 2017

And then there was the work with VEGA BIZ+, providing assistance and coaching to small family run business in the North and East of the country.  The business I worked with were varied:  rice flour mill, FIBC polybag manufacturer, heirloom rice and a garment factory.  All needing various levels of support, some more than others.

I worked particularly closely with Thayalini on one challenging business, but with such an awesome team of ladies, this business is now profitable and the outlook looks very positive.

Thayaini and I saying our farewells at Palaly Airforce Base, Jaffna

And now for a whole bunch of memories …

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I missed a few photos – Thushy from Batti office who was a gem to work with.  Also to Prasanna and Purusoth … I ended up only working with them once in the 9 months.

Thank you everyone, for making me feel so welcome, it was a truly memorable experience.  I will miss you all!

Tonight I fly to Kathmandu to visit friends in Banepa for a week or so and will drop into SIRC too.  Dying to see everyone in Nepal!

Much love and peace

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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9 Responses to Farewell, Kutpai, Ayubowan Sri Lanka

  1. beverley says:

    Safe journey home Kate to our Happy Isle. Look fwd to seeing you upon your return. Namaste.

  2. Becky Dawson says:

    What a wonderful journey you have experienced with many to meet again thank goodness 🙂 !!
    Here’s to great coffee (VB I think say the best) on Bowen! I look forward to seeing you after your safe trip home.
    Bon Voyage, Becky

  3. Reidun says:

    Oh Kate…You are an inspiration and friend to so many.
    I couldn’t agree more, with your feelings about people and food. My favourites as well.
    See you soon, and look forward to haveing you back on Bowen 💜

  4. Mick Canning says:

    Great you enjoyed your time there, Kate. have a good trip to Nepal. Where are you going after that? Home?

  5. you’re a lucky lucky gal. Enjoy Nepal and have a safe flight home!

  6. Pingback: 2017 – a year that was | Bowen to Bangladesh

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