27 July 2011

What do an environmental grant, a photo equipment company and my first cousin have in common?

They all play an intrusmental part in my forthcoming journey to Sri Lanka. As I prepare, it occurs to me just how auspicious it is to have so much support from so many disparate sources.

First, a resounding thank you to David de Rothschild and his non-profit foundation, Sculpt the Future, who generously awarded me their Creativity for Change grant. The grant is supporting the entirety of this trip and some much-needed equipment back in the studio. How amazing is that? David, whom you might know from his incredible voyage on the Plastiki, also founded MYOO.com, a forward-thinking website bringing together people and fostering ideas about protecting our planet. I'm proud to be working with the talented folks at MYOO, starting with this in-depth interview on OLTW.

My next thank you goes out to Ron Egatz at the Mac Group, who very kindly brokered the loan of a lightweight yet heavy-duty Benro tripod for me to take on the road. Ron wrote up my project on the Mamiya blog last year, and has gone out of his way to see me properly outfitted. I've been lugging around a brick of a tripod, and heavy equipment can really take its toll physically (though I'm sure my years as an acrobat didn't help matters any either.) So on behalf of myself and my osteopath, I'd like to thank them for lightening my load.

And sometimes support comes in the form of sharing your knowledge and connections. It just so happens that my first cousin Laura's husband, Wijitha, is from none other than Sri Lanka. Though they now live in Virginia, Laura and Wijitha have been instrumental in helping me plan my trip. From giving me recommendations on where to stay and helping me find a driver, to discussing local customs and reaching out to their own contacts, I know my travels will be all the richer for their kind and thoughtful support. They also helped put my mind at ease in terms of safety as a foreign woman traveling alone. While the civil war is over, I'm first to admit I know woefully little about the intricacies and brutalities of the war or its lingering effects. (I recommend the New Yorker article from Jan 12th of this year for a thoughtful primer.) Thank you, Laura and Wijitha, and I look forward to swapping stories.

Ok, back to packing. Technology permitting, stay tuned for reports and pictures from the field over the coming two weeks... x

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