A wise person once told me that there is one of two ways we can live: The first is as if nothing is a miracle and the second is as if everything is a miracle. After my experiences in the past week I choose the latter.
It is the most satisfying feeling to know that one of our initiatives has worked and that is exactly what we have achieved with our development approach. We have selected strong and respected partners in LEADS and BOLO and identified the most vulnerable villages in Killinochi to focus on over the next three years in MALAYALAPURAM (600 families) and KORAKHANKADDU (457 families). After a thorough 4 day workshop I can tell you that the needs are great, the challenges overwhelming but the possibilities endless. I am so excited that our Palmera team gets to play a role in the lives of over 1000 families. It seems unbelievable that we can have such a direct impact on these lives but I assure you, the work you do has and will continue to.
Most of you would not know me to be the religious type and for the most part you would be right, but there was a lot to pray about while I was here.
I prayed that I would arrive and leave Killinochi safely. My prayer was answered thanks to my father, Niv, Joel, my two escorts (Jana & a german volunteer I bumped into) and a forgiving army official when I forgot my passport and lost the keys to my luggage!!
I prayed for the beneficiaries to have the strength to dream when when one of the young participants said that no one had ever asked her to dream before. My prayer was answered when Jeya Anna delivered one of the most powerful messages I have ever had the privilege to hear. At the end of the day the participants unanimously agreed that they wanted to change their name to Thiruvaya ( a great poet) as they wanted to embody his wisdom, his spirituality and his strength. They had all learnt not only how to dream but how to be visionaries.
I prayed that somehow, although I was occupied in the village workshop all day, I would have an opportunity to meet other NGOs to discuss potential projects. My prayer was answered that night when they found me and the next night Oxfam Australia (Killinochi Division) organised dinner with a round table of NGOs. I learnt more that night then I would have in months.
I prayed that the heat would die down. This prayer was not answered
I prayed for my own inspiration and my prayer was answered when I met Father Praba who runs the BOLO project (which was Palmeras first project for this year). Orphaned at 4 years old, he and other boys from the orphanage started BOLO. Although a small grass roots, their impact is great and their energy infectious. They work in an almost 100% Hindu village with the poorest of the poor. He took me through the orphanage he grew up in, which was bombed beyond recognition, smiled and said that now it was about looking forward.
I prayed that I would find a way to bring Threads of Hope to life as this will be the project that transforms Palmera. My prayers were answered and I somehow I found myself around a table with the NGO, the expert and the experienced to guide our approach. It was one of the most energetic lunches I have had in a long while!
And I hour before I board the plane back to Australia, my last silent prayer is that we are all given the strength to make the difference I know that is within us all to help transform this place of destruction back to the way that it was always intended to be.