I’ve just completed nine days in Sri Lanka with ChildFund documenting recovery efforts in rural areas. Schools and community centers were severely damaged during the civil war. ChildFund is building newer, better centers with the help of the local community on the ground. Throughout this, the organization’s educational, nutritional, and growth-monitoring programs continue. They are ever so important here among a population that has been devastated by upheaval. Despite this, Sri Lanka was perhaps the warmest and friendliest place I’ve been in some time, to which these photos will attest. The majority of meals I ate were in homes rather than at my hotel.

I shot two videos spots during the week, the first of which is about Dilshan, whose family struggled to keep him in school until ChildFund’s agricultural programs stepped in. The spot will air on cable television in the US, and I have to keep it hidden until after it does. Below Dilshan harvests brinjals, one of Sri Lanka’s many exotic vegetables. It’s like a tart eggplant, but with a firmer texture. I’m certainly going to miss the great variety of food here.

Below is the second video I shot, and have just put the finishing touches on. It focuses on ChildFund’s reconstruction of Early Childhood Care and Development centers, or ECCDs, which are a launching point of ChildFund’s programs in the community.

Below, ECCD coordinator Chamila Krishanti talks to parents at a home-based ECCD, wherein adults learn about activities to stimulate their young children’s minds at home, and about proper nutrition and diet for their families.

If you count the video below, I shot three in total. Officially, Sri Lanka drives on the left-hand side of the road, though this is more of a guideline than a rule. Several times I thought I could be filming the last moments of my life. Without a freeway system, Sri Lanka’s roads cut through populated areas and make for a few close calls.