Give any amount, today, to 2 special projects in Sri Lanka!

I’ve never made one of my causes public, not even Give2Asia.  And due to age more than anything, I’ve never been a racer for causes.

But this year, we have a cause: helping some of those most in need in Sri Lanka, and I ask you to take 5 minutes to give $25, $50, or any amount to the Tsunami Renewal Fund (http://give2asia.org/tsunamiplusten).

Sri Lanka was the first stop for this T+10 personal research project exploring the philanthropic legacy of the 2004 tsunami.  It was a remarkable trip, and if you haven’t seen it, check out the trip video we are so proud of: http://tsunamiplus10.org/MINI-DOC; thanks to Mayra Padilla for all her insights and photo/videography.

Conflict still divides Sri Lanka, and while the war is over and things are markedly better, there remain disparities between the Sinhalese/Buddhist South and the former Tamil conflict zone in the North and East.


We can’t solve these problems but we know two organizations that can help families and youth in different ways.  More detail is in the previous post, and we are raising just $10,000 for 2 projects: the FOUNDATION OF GOODNESS and the 181 individuals in Neethipuram Village to the North, and SRI LANKA UNITES, which works with youth on reconciliation across the country.

In addition to what we’ve put into Tsunami+10, we’ve made our own gifts to the Tsunami Renewal Fund (http://give2asia.org/tsunamiplusten).  My 3:1 match from work helps!

Why now and why Sri Lanka?  There are some things you give to simply because of inequality and great need.  Neethipuram counts, with families earning barely $100/mo and the traumas of conflict fresh.  We know exactly where our funds will go and who they’ll help.  These are gifts for concrete hope, into a tough but ready environment, and we know that FOG has complementary commitments in the village and the North.  We can trust both organizations to keep us updated over time.  

This once (and perhaps next year for Aceh, Indonesia!), give what you can, and any amount matters.  The TSUNAMI RENEWAL FUND is only for grantees and programs (not Tsunami+10 itself), and is tax deductible.  Click:

http://give2asia.org/tsunamiplusten

In any event, best wishes!

Mike, with Mayra

High-res A story and memorial from the Mayor of Galle on the 8th anniversary of the tsunami.
Mayra and I were in the home stretch of our 2-week research trip, hoping to get a government official to tell us how Galle, the 4th largest city in Sri Lanka, has recovered.  We were lucky to get an evening interview with the Mayor.
We only got to one question: “What was your experience the day of the tsunami?”
The Mayor — a politician in front of a camera… — proceeded to hold forth for over 60 minutes.  In the political opposition at the time, he shared how he conveyed his family to safety and, without telling them, returned to Sambodhi House, an orphanage for the disabled.  He was greeted by “dead bodies everywhere” -– 48 of 62 residents died -– and he delivered children to the morgue in a fire truck.  Unlike other local politicians, he helped out througout the day.  People said he saved lives. We got the full replay, and I was rebuked at one point for trying to hurry him along.
And then he started to cry.  
To weep, recalling how the children had called him “father,” for his role as Board Secretary. Such grief, and also guilt, it turns out, almost 8 years later.
As the new Secretary, he had asked a priest to spend holy days discussing the Buddhist precepts with the children.  Just the second such sermon was on December 26.  The children were assembled on the front porch when the tidal wave raged ashore.
He feels impossibly responsible. And then, with terrible wonder, our last hour made sense.
Of course he had to tell this story in full; had to relive each moment, in his own time, in his own way.  
It’s not a surprise that it surfaced for a foreign camera crew with a question that may never have been asked. Had he shared his pain with anyone else?  Was he even aware of it?
On the 8th anniversary we thank the Mayor of Galle and Sambodhi House.  
We recall lessons in humility and respect when listening to others.  
We remember lives lost, and emotional scars that remain harsh, if submerged.
We remind ourselves to value every day.
And we ask everyone to care again for a disaster-hit community dear to you, get involved, and give again.
-Mike & Mayra
12/26/12

A story and memorial from the Mayor of Galle on the 8th anniversary of the tsunami.

Mayra and I were in the home stretch of our 2-week research trip, hoping to get a government official to tell us how Galle, the 4th largest city in Sri Lanka, has recovered.  We were lucky to get an evening interview with the Mayor.

We only got to one question: “What was your experience the day of the tsunami?”

The Mayor — a politician in front of a camera… — proceeded to hold forth for over 60 minutes.  In the political opposition at the time, he shared how he conveyed his family to safety and, without telling them, returned to Sambodhi House, an orphanage for the disabled.  He was greeted by “dead bodies everywhere” -– 48 of 62 residents died -– and he delivered children to the morgue in a fire truck.  Unlike other local politicians, he helped out througout the day.  People said he saved lives. We got the full replay, and I was rebuked at one point for trying to hurry him along.

And then he started to cry. 

To weep, recalling how the children had called him “father,” for his role as Board Secretary. Such grief, and also guilt, it turns out, almost 8 years later.

As the new Secretary, he had asked a priest to spend holy days discussing the Buddhist precepts with the children.  Just the second such sermon was on December 26.  The children were assembled on the front porch when the tidal wave raged ashore.

He feels impossibly responsible. And then, with terrible wonder, our last hour made sense.

Of course he had to tell this story in full; had to relive each moment, in his own time, in his own way. 

It’s not a surprise that it surfaced for a foreign camera crew with a question that may never have been asked. Had he shared his pain with anyone else?  Was he even aware of it?

On the 8th anniversary we thank the Mayor of Galle and Sambodhi House. 

We recall lessons in humility and respect when listening to others. 

We remember lives lost, and emotional scars that remain harsh, if submerged.

We remind ourselves to value every day.

And we ask everyone to care again for a disaster-hit community dear to you, get involved, and give again.

-Mike & Mayra

12/26/12