My childhood dream

By Laura Hinck
Sept. 11, 2019

I am so excited to know that Peace Corps will again be in Sri Lanka! I have been told, that when I was 4 years old, I would tell everyone who I saw, I was going to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. And I did!

I was so lucky to serve in the most magical place on earth, Sri Lanka! What is it like to be a volunteer in Sri Lanka? Well, I would say two things, the beautiful people and the natural beauty of the country itself. I served three plus years as an agriculture volunteer in the Badulla District with the Ministry of Agriculture. I must say I fell in love with the people and country of Sri Lanka from the moment I stepped foot on her soil.

I was impacted by the wonderful farmers and their families who so graciously welcomed me into their homes, along with the food and the natural beauty of Sri Lanka itself. I lived with my host family, in my small village of Amunudowa just outside of Bandarawela, in the hill country. I lived just below a tea plantation. I learned a great deal from them, even though I was thousands of miles away from home, this was my family and they were just like my family back home, and they still are.

I was invited to weddings, funerals, and every other celebration they had (and they have a lot!). I still miss laying in my bed at night listening to the sounds of the jungle and watching the hundreds of fireflies blinking like Christmas lights. I loved talking to the toddy tapper guy who helped Grandpa make toddy. The people in Sri Lanka are the most giving, heroic and proud people I have ever met. They would share their last cup of tea with me any time. Through good times and bad, they never lose their sense of humor, their pride in who they are or where they have come from, or their sense of family. Family is a large part of who this nation is and what makes them uniquely Sri Lankans. I learned a lot about family and community and have carried this with me still today. I can only hope I left a fraction of an impression on my family and community as they left with me. And yes, this was the hardest job I will ever love.

Laura and Larry on motor bikes
Laura and Larry (Agriculture Volunteers) travelling to Anuradhapura for work (motor bikes were allowed for Agriculture work at that time)
Laura smiling