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07/03/2014

Hello from a smile-loving country

Konnichiha, everyone! My name is Arisa Nishida, and I started working as the Program Officer of the Sri Lanka Program this June. Before, I worked at the Tokyo HQ supporting the country offices in Jordan and Iraq which assisted the water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the education sector. As you may have recognized, I have entered a new field: the Agricultural Assistance; that means new experience, new knowledge, new everything. Believe it or not, I encountered something new on the first day in Vavuniya: palm trees located in the middle of paddy fields. This is something you don’t easily come across in Japan. I am very motivated to learn different values, lifestyles, beliefs so that the new knowledge and experiences that I will acquire will contribute to offering better and effective assistance for the recovery and development of Sri Lanka.

Over the past two weeks, I had opportunities to visit current and previous project sties, meet local government officials, and walk around in Vavuniya Town where our country office is located. Through this course of observing and talking, I recognized that, “Sri Lankans smile a lot.” And I also noticed that these smiles served as my mental relief especially when I get them after walking under the blazing sun.

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I do need to say here that there are so many war-affected people who still have not yet been able to re-build their livelihoods; many live in semi-permanent shelters, lack income to treat their families to adequate nutrition, and have to withdraw their children from school because they cannot afford educational materials. Also, many lost their family members during the conflict, and have not yet recovered from the depression and mental instability.

I sincerely hope that there will be much more people restoring their beautiful smiles through JEN’s assistance, and the last couple of weeks spending here has given me not only high hopes, but also confidence, for that to happen.

Arisa Nishida, Program Officer


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July 3, 2014 in Sri Lanka |