Greg Holyfield (Sri Lanka)

Greg Holyfield (Home for Human Rights, Sri Lanka): Greg graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in history. He then worked in the production department of Sony/ATV/Tree Music Publishing and served as a “Big Brother” for an elementary student from Nashville. He later volunteered with the Peace Corps where he served for more than 2 years in Mali, West Africa as an Agriculture Extension Agent. In Mali, Greg oversaw the construction of a garden project for a women’s group in the village of Konna. He later worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon (TN-6th) on agriculture, immigration, and international relations. Greg also volunteered with the Everybody Wins mentoring program in the Washington DC public schools system. At the time of his fellowship, Greg was studying for a Masters degree in the inaugural class of the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas.

A Low Grade Civil War

07 Jun

Today is my fourth day in Sri Lanka and my journey from Nashville to Colombo was a long ordeal. I am happy to be here as this city so far has been an easy place to which to adapt. The idea harder getting used to is that this country is in the midst of a low grade civil war. I just read today in The Island, a local Sri Lankan newspaper, that the Tiger Tamil Rebels accidentally destroyed a civilian bus that looked similar to buses used by the Sri Lankan Navy. Luckily, the bus was empty, but the attack took place just a couple of kilometers outside of this city. Personally, I do not feel threatened for my safety. Though civilians have been killed by their attacks, (from what I am learning) they have always attacked military targets and rarely have Westerners been involved.

Even though I have only been here 4 days, I can sense the underlying current of war in the air. Though I will (hopefully) be working with the Tamils in the east of the country, I have chosen only to superficially discuss the war with the Sri Lankans I have met. To this end, EVERYONE I have met has been incredibly gracious and happy that I am here. It seems that not too many Americans make it to this island, especially now.

As for work with the Home for Human Rights, I will really begin when the executive director arrives from Canada next week. Until then, I will spend the next few days reading reports on HHR projects, exploring this city and getting acclimated to this heat! (Being from the South and having lived near the Sahara Desert for two years, I think I was overly confident with my tolerance for hot weather. Luckily, a liter and a half of bottled water is only 40 cents…) Otherwise, I will be continually monitoring the upcoming peace talks while learning more and more about this beautiful country everyday. Thanks for reading and until next time…

Posted By Greg Holyfield (Sri Lanka)

Posted Jun 7th, 2006

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