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.

Random thoughts…

05 Jul

This is the beginning of my second month in Sri Lanka. Last night, I woke up every couple of hours as high winds and rain pounded the door and windows of my small balcony overlooking the city of Colombo. Rain actually seeped through a small opening in my door so I have a small puddle of rainwater on my floor this morning. At least it keeps the heat away…

Sri Lanka, a member of the newly formed UN Human Rights Council, voted last week for a treaty to prevent and punish forced disappearances. This treaty will be forwarded to the General Assembly in the fall. This is funny to me as both the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) have extremely poor records on disappearances. In case you don’t know, a “disappearance” is a case where civilians are hauled away for no apparent reason, other than being a suspected rebel or government sympathizers. These disappearances are a nasty business (in many cases rape and torture are involved) and unfortunately, it is almost a daily occurrence here.

I was able to get out of Colombo this past weekend to visit a beach and see firsthand the affects of the December 2004 Tsunami. I took a three hour train ride south to a bay called Unawatuna. Here one could see, a year and a half later, reminders of the devastation. One notices almost immediately that all of the buildings, houses and roads are brand spanking new. The Tsunami had wiped everything out. There are broken boats inland while once sparkling yellow beaches were destroyed and replaced by a small layer of sand. It is through the hard work of the Sri Lankan people as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that the area is being rebuilt and an economy is forming.

Thanks again to everyone reading these blogs. I have heard from a great many of you and I appreciate your notes. They really keep me going. Until next time…

Posted By Greg Holyfield (Sri Lanka)

Posted Jul 5th, 2006

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