Ayubowan, Sri Lanka!
October has been a crazy hectic month for me thus far. In the past 48 hours before boarding the plane from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo, I was at the other side of Malaysia, facilitating a workshop in Labuan and flew back to my alma mater, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, as the UNMC Cycling Club was the co-organizer of Life Cycle Malaysia 3. Barely a day passed and I was already on board another plane to a country which I have never been to before – Sri Lanka.
I applied to attend the 5th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum back in July as part of the Malaysian Youth Delegation, without the expectation of getting selected as I have no means to participate without any funding. I stated in my application that I needed financial support. August went by pretty fast and I unexpectedly received an email in September regarding the conference from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (!!!). They were enquiring if I was still interested in attending the conference and whether or not I still required sponsorship assistance. My reply was a definite, YES!
I departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the 16th October at 9am and arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport at 10am (it was a 3 hours 15 minutes flight, with a time difference of two and a half hours). As the plane was landing at Colombo, I looked out the window and was amazed at the greeneries. At the airport, I was greeted by Dulanga, who is kind enough to host me throughout my stay here.
Dulanga stays at Mount Lavinia, which is about an hour’s drive from the airport. Her dad drove us and as soon as I reached her house, I was warmly greeted by her mum and ten years old, Sally. We arrived just in time for lunch.
My first homemade local food here and it tastes AMAZING. The spices are different and it alleviates the taste buds even more! Her dad kept asking me if it was too spicy. I was enjoying my food so much that I shrugged it off saying that I’m used to eating spicy food. Only at the end of the meal, I realised that I really needed water – you know why.
After lunch, Dulanga and I sat down and started doing our work. The workaholic in us is real! We have much preparation to do for tomorrow and decided to work on it ASAP. We started with analysing the agenda and strategically dividing and choosing the parallel sessions that we wanted to attend according to our interest. Sitting down, discussing and carefully deliberating on what to do for the next three days is somewhat crazy but comforting, knowing that we have our days planned out, making our trip here more structured and organised.
Then, we referred back to our checklist, as prepared by Emily, on the tasks that we need to do here. The list definitely no chill, describing the amount of articles and social media updates we need to adhere. On the bright side, if we can get through this, we can get through COP (hopefully!). With lots of practice, it will definitely come naturally.
Dulanga had some errands to run and catching up with family to do today, so stayed home and catching up as well, but for work. It is nice being able to have a day off and rest in her beautiful home, I have not had this in days. Nevertheless, I am anticipating a fulfilling day at the conference tomorrow!
Written by: Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham