Sunday, June 4, 2017

Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #11

This has been a tough kind of a month for me personally. I fell ill earlier in the month in what turned into a dengue scare. I had some of the symptoms for dengue such as high fever, muscle and joint pains, pains behind my eyes, nausea, headaches and lack of energy. Given the seriousness of the dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka, I went directly to get the dengue antigen and full blood count tests at a local medical center. Thankfully, two hours later my tests confirmed a negative result for dengue. If you do happen to fall ill and you're worried that it might be dengue, don't hesitate to get a blood test. Better safe than sorry.

In my case, it turned out I had contracted some sort of viral fever that seemed to be doing the rounds around Colombo. I'm not usually prone to illness, but when I do fall sick I'm not a very good patient. And this viral fever really tested me physically, emotionally and mentally. It's at these times that homesickness can be triggered and the inner child's voice that cries "I want my mummy". Yeah, yeah, I know... it does sound rather pathetic, but when you're feeling low, all the ugly hangs out too.

My mother, who I didn't tell I was sick until after I recovered, demanded that I return "home" for medical tests and also for a bit of r&r. Bless her, she's a dear, and I love that she still looks out for me from afar. As much as it's sometimes not-so-easy being away from family, it's also hard for family to be away from me. It's easy to forget this when we have social media, messaging and video calls. I interact with my closest family members on a daily basis, so it often doesn't feel like they're that far away. But this recent bout of illness reminded me of the oceans and time zones that separate me from them. Luckily, I have a good support network in Sri Lanka and there were people to take me to the doctor's, organize my medicine, feed me and check that I was recovering slowly, but surely.

So, all-in-all, June has been a bit of write-off for me. What has helped me to get back to my usual self has been consuming more fresh fruit and vegetables, keeping hydrated and being more with nature.

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to turning the page into July 2017... Bring it!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

UPDATED: Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #10

May has historically been a terrible month for Sri Lanka when it comes to natural disasters. With the onset of the southwest monsoon comes thunderstorms, strong  winds and torrential rains. Last May our little island experienced terrible floods and landslides after being hit by a severe tropical storm followed by a major drought. Prior to the May 2016 floods Sri Lanka was suffering a major drought. And tragically this year is proving no different with the island having experienced the worst drought in 40 years at the start of this year,and now in May, the current floods said to be the worst in a decade.

The island seems to oscillate between major drought to severe floods and landslides with increased frequency. And the Sri Lankan Government's poor record with respect to planning, preparedness, early warning systems, and crisis management in these situations is worrying.

Life on the island doesn't get more frightening than being on the sharp end of natural disasters and Sri Lanka has  certainly had more than its fair share. But as much as there are challenges in the face of these natural disasters, the resilience and generosity of the island's inhabitants is amazing to witness.

Earlier this year, a local friend living up near Kegalle shared a prediction she had heard from a third party regarding possible floods, landslides and potential dam bursts in late May 2017. I was shocked when this prediction came true on the predicted dates for this current tragedy.