Madara was my first couchsurfing host in Sri Lanka. We communicated through emails before my arrival and she told me to head to her office from the airport directly so that we could head to her home together. She gave me her office address in details without mentioning the name of the organization, I slowly found my way there by taking different buses in the heavy rain. Without expecting what organization she was working at, I ended up in a business area with a familiar logo on the front gate of a big office. Wasn’t it the UN logo? How come Madara didn’t mention it when she told me the office address, I was wondering. Wearing a giant backpack on my back, and another backpack in the front, I felt the security staff at the gate must be so in doubt who I was, hopefully not terrorist, wanted to get into such a sensitive international place at a rainy evening night.
United Nation, was once my dream to work at. However, the dream was too big for me and I gave it up later as I realized I was just not the person they needed. When I found out my host Madara was a staff there, I was so keen to know how she made her way there.
Madara, 26, shared with me she was actually having 3 dreams at the moment. She remember she wanted to get in to UN 13 years ago when she was only 15. One day, a social worker went to the class and asked them what they wanna do in the future, then she started thinking other than being a better person. She felt she could always empathize to people and helped others out in school, she thought she could work in the charity sector, and working in the United Nation became her goal since then.
After leaving high school, Madara started working when she was doing her University degree at the same time. During her past 6 years of work experience, she worked in different NGOs to pave her path to the UN, including 2 years of work experience in the Sri Lanka youth parliament. She has been interested in the HIV field and spent some time in it too. She just finished her Master Education on Development Studies, and is finishing off her thesis on Economics and Social Re-integration of HIV positive women.
Madara shared her work life was not really that smooth. After the civil war ended, 700-800 NGOs shut down. She thought may be the path didn’t work for her. She quitted her job and waited at home half a year to figure out what she wanted. Finally she got into her dream job in Feb 2014.
She wanted to learn as much as possible in the UN, especially in the foreign sectors. She may spend 4-5 years here, and try working in different sectors other than HIV if possible.
Her next dream is to be a foreign career diplomat under the government. She wanted to represent Sri Lanka and be an ambassador and got posted in different countries. She wanted to get in by choice, not by political appointed. This dream had been in her mind along with her UN dream. She will also need to pass an exam on Sri Lanka and foreign issues.
Her next dream is to be part of the global Century Club, where members have traveled more than 100 countries. It is a good networking place to meet friends. These people are either traveling, working overseas or living abroad.
At the moment, she could only do short travels between her work holidays. She is the only daughter so she needs to take care of her parents. She love to travel alone and enjoy life in her own pace, she doesn’t go to famous places, but whatever catch her eyes. She doesn’t like to do things everybody else does. She likes to mingle with people and see the world. She is happy with her life achieving goals set for herself. Even if she dies the next day, she is a happy person.
She shared her favorite quote, “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked”, from the book “The Prophet”, written by Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American poet and writer. If you embrace your sorrow with a belief that it’s fleeting, it passes and joy emerges.
Madara gave me a heart shaped jade as the present in exchange. It is a ritualistic healing stone she got from a good friend of her who shared the same birthday. It has the magical power to drive away evil and cleanse off the bad thing. However, being an atheist, she wish to pass it to somebody who believes and will take the power instead.
夢想專訪7 – 斯里蘭卡女生的大夢想
第三個夢想，她想成為「全球世紀會」(Global Century Club)的成員，入會資格是，必須曾到訪至少一百個國家。她覺得那會是一個很好的社交圈，因為成員都遊歷經驗豐富，都是在外地工作或生活的人。
Madara跟我分享她最愛的座佑銘，「把你的悲傷脫下面具，其實就是你的喜悅」(Your joy is your sorrow unmasked)，是出自一位美籍黎巴嫩詩人作家的小說The Prophet，意思是若果能夠擁抱悲傷，懷著信念它會過去的，喜悅便會出現。