One of the weird and fun things about volunteering is how you float between two different worlds on a daily basis.
One minute your banging down a shit road sweating on the city bus heading to the hospital (shout out to all the 150 bus riders), and the next you’re hanging out at the yacht club with millionaires eating roast pork and drinking with pumpkins.
Thanks to a few extra rupees (and I literally mean three), where we come from and the colour of our skin, it’s possible for us to mix with the upper crust of Sri Lankan society, or be invited into any village house on the island for a cup of sugar tea.
Neither worlds feel exactly right.
If you’re from Regina, it’s like somehow simultaneously hanging out at the Empire bar drinking the coldest Kokanee off-sale in the world and the Wascana Golf Club sipping on a brandy. I can almost guarantee it’s never happened. I might try it when I get back though.
In many ways I think this floating between worlds is a huge plus for volunteering. If I were here working and getting paid as an expat, my world would be far smaller, my view of Sri Lanka much narrower and I certainly wouldn’t know the joy of riding the 150 bus.
Don’t get me wrong though. I enjoy air conditioning and hanging out in nice places every once in awhile. And we’re certainly not roughing it here. In many ways our standard of living is higher here than it is in Canada (we have to reluctantly admit that we have a cleaning lady now and our gym is more like a luxurious spa than a place to workout).
Floating from world to world is an option that not many people on this planet have the opportunity to do. And for that, I am grateful.
Don’t forget to remember Novembrance Day today. Peace out.