Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Countdown to the Conference: 2 days - In Transit

With only two days remaining before the Future Leaders Conference, several team members gathered their belongings and made the journey to Kandy. On this occasion, a trip that nominally takes four to five hours was elongated into a daylong excursion as logistics and minor hiccups compounded the time of travel. Unexpected instances at the office delayed our departure until noon while an attempt to repair the van’s faulty air conditioning had the team sidelined for 30 minutes before we decided to move on.

Once out of Colombo, rest remained elusive. Constant phone calls to confirm preparations added to an already hectic series of days. Eventually, communication settled into a lull, and the team was allowed some sleep to prepare for the larger tasks that still lay ahead. Several traffic jams later, the sun had set and the clock read 7:20 pm. At long last, we pulled into Kandy and contacted those who had arranged for our reservations.

Upon arrival, we rendezvoused with the first of the short-term international teams. A group of four volunteers from Orlando, Florida and one man from South Africa had arrived in Sri Lanka the previous Saturday to exclusively assist with the conference’s execution. Most of the Orlando team had been present two years ago to witness the beginning of the annual Future Leaders Conference. Inspired, they decided to return to follow up on the progress that Sri Lanka Unites has made since that time. To reveal our appreciation of their participation, all international delegates attended a cricket match that evening between Sri Lanka and Australia. An enjoyable evening ensued and the Orlando team later retreated to their hotel to rest for a large scale SLU team meeting that began the following morning at 9:00 am. The rest of us rejoined the remaining SLU staff in a guest house that would become our base of operations for the next 6 days. Exhausted, the team collapsed onto their beds and awaited the following day.

The upcoming conference will be LIVE-STREAMED for the first time! Beginning on Wednesday the 10th, you can follow it at

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