Lauren Katz

Lauren Katz (Home for Human Rights - HHR): Lauren was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government and Politics, with a concentration on international studies. She then volunteered at the University of Maryland HELP Center and domestic violence shelters in Washington, D.C., before entering the Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated with honors. While at Georgetown, Lauren volunteered at the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence and the Bread for the City Legal Clinic. After her fellowship, Lauren wrote: “The best aspect of my fellowship was building relationships with my co-workers and beneficiaries. Because of the trauma of the war, many were initially distrustful of me as an outsider. It was incredibly rewarding when I was included in serious conversations about what people experienced during the war, and what their true opinions are now.”



And here I am!

23 Nov

Arriving in Sri Lanka just under a month ago, I cannot say that my expectations have been met.  In truth, I came with very few expectations, other than what can be found in the travel books and on the internet.  When most westerners think of Sri Lanka, tea and the musician M.I.A. likely come to mind, and not much else.   I have found the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” to be exciting, beautiful and incredibly educational.   Every day I am learning something, whether it be some nuance of government relations, a new word in Tamil or Sinhala, or how not to fall out of a packed three-wheeler.

Colombo is diverse cities filled with contradiction, both modern and traditional, secular and religious.  Walking down the same street, I see women wearing business suits and others wearing traditional saris; both may even have similar professions.  I have seen amazingly beautiful beaches usually reserved for tourists and the Colombo elite, and beaches used by locals that are covered in trash.  Some streets I walk down people don’t give me a second look, and in other situations children laugh and run away from me because they’ve never seen a white woman in person before.  I hope to explore safely off the beaten track and be exposed to, as it has been said to me, the “real Colombo,” as much as possible, and share some of the experiences I have in this blog.
Wellawatta Beach

These kids find me both hilarious and terrifying.

Thus far, I have found a rich and resilient culture full of people who still have hope despite decades of hardship.  Sri Lanka is a country trying to bounce back from tragedy.   In 2004, the country was devastated by a tsunami it still has not fully recovered from.  In May, 2009, the government declared victory in the thirty-year long civil war that had devastated much of the country.  I am excited to do some good work in the aftermath of these events, and gain a full understanding of the challenges that Sri Lanka faces in the post-war era.

Posted By Lauren Katz

Posted Nov 23rd, 2010

3 Comments

  • Jessica

    November 23, 2010

     

    Lauren, Thanks for the updates, I’ve been thinking about you a lot. This will be a wonderful learning experience that you will never forget. So enjoy, inspire, make a difference, and be safe. I’m looking forward to future blogs. Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll miss you this year!

    Jessica

  • Justin

    November 24, 2010

     

    You Rock!!!

  • iain

    November 24, 2010

     

    Good work! Look forward to reading much more in the weeks ahead. Great to have you there.

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