Due to an extremely fortunate coincidence, I arrived in Sri Lanka during the early morning of what would the first day of HHR’s annual conference for strategic planning. Twenty-four hours of traveling nearly halfway around the globe confined in a winged tin tube, followed by what only seemed like an equal amount of time careening through traffic in a wheeled tin box would appeal to few people as the ideal introduction to a new place, new people, and a new job. Many other HHR staff members had also traveled long distances from branch offices across Sri Lanka, but from the opening introduction at the conference our shared enthusiasm breathed renewed life into every one of us.
On that first night we reviewed the founding mission of HHR, to protect and promote human right in Sri Lanka, and discussed our goals for the conference. In addition to my own recent arrival, this conference was also the first time for most staff members to meet in person with others from outside their own office; so after adjourning late in the evening much time was spent getting to know each other informally. By the close of the second day, as we sat eating dinner together, my Sri Lankan coworkers were already asking “So, how do you like Sri Lanka?”
As I reflected on the answer, it stuck me that I had less than 36 hours since my arrival on which I might base any opinion and that for about a third of that time I had been asleep; a moment later my new colleagues also shared this odd realization. I really could only commented on the hot, humid weather and the endless varieties of spicy curries, as we shared a common amusement at conspicuous incongruence between mechanically measured time and our perceived time together. We worked, ate, and relaxed with one another for two more days, and then the conference drew to a close. We succeeded in shaping a strategic plan for our organization and grew together as a dedicated team of professionals. After this fourth cycle of the sun around our world, the time gap relative to our personal perceptions seemed immeasurable and therefore ceased holding any significance.
I am looking forward to the coming year.
Posted By Adam Nord (Sri Lanka)
Posted Oct 28th, 2007