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.

On the job training…

16 Jun

It is the end of my second week in Sri Lanka and the end of my first at the Home for Human Rights (HHR). My jet lag finally passed last week and I am slowly but surely settling in at work. The office here in Colombo is open weekdays from 8:30AM to 5:30PMwith non-stop activity. Phones, landlines and cell phones, are always ringing, reports are being written, while visitors arrive to seek help from the barristers employed here.

HHR, among others things, is working on post-Tsunami rehabilitation in the east of the country and I had hoped to have been there by now. Unfortunately, the security situation is tenuous, especially with the deaths of over 60 civilians in the north of the country yesterday. Moreover, we still do not know exactly what is happening and whether any side is devoted to peace right now. So I am staying in Colombo for the time being trying to help around the office. While in the office, I also help my training fellow to help them improve and boost their skills. Which skills will improve their resume and not only this, how to do a resume to get a job.

On a personal note, I am slowly learning about this culture and we have shared a lot of laughs in the office. Usually the laughs are at my expense and usually involve my collared shirts, which become covered in sweat after my short 10 minute walk to work. Last week, I also was told that my manner of eating with my hands was a bit unorthodox (that is my word, not theirs). Sri Lankans usually eat with their right hand and I had learned to eat with my hands while living in Mali, yet the way of eating here is a bit different. With my wet shirts and a food covered right hand, a lot of good laughs were had by all. Well, whatever it takes… Hope everyone is well. Thanks for reading and until next time…

Posted By Greg Holyfield (Sri Lanka)

Posted Jun 16th, 2006

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