“Hopscotch the globe” was an article writing contest, held as the first phase of project “Coast To Coast”, an initiative from the International Service Avenue of RACFOSUOC.
This was indeed an escape mechanism!! We all were( and still are) exhausted from being confined to the four walls of our rooms, and eyes glued to screens. We wanted to expose ourselves to different cultures around the world sans traveling for real. We welcomed short stories, articles, poems, comics from all three languages, that talked about experiences or thoughts about other countries and cultures. There was indeed a positive response from our fellow rotaractors.
Submissions were varied and encompassed all corners of the earth, from where teeth-chattering ice caps to parched lands where scorching sun gleams; Germany, Russia, South Korea, Nepal, Italy, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.
Choosing the best out of the best proved to be tough as our contestants managed to keep us hooked with their content from the beginning to the end. They truly managed to take us on a journey embedded with a plethora of emotions and bounties of knowledge throughout their stories.
Several aspects in the articles submitted, left me flabbergasted when I realized how amazingly talented our colleagues are. There was a comedy, adventure along with picturesque language and compelling arguments too.
One managed to grab our attention by illustrating a teen trying to embrace core traditions of her parents’ culture. With the collection of notable drawings and some simple speech bubbles, Rtr. Sandani Sesanika managed to introduce us a major cultural phenomenon, in a comprehensible manner.
One contestant elaborated on his international trip full of tantalizing adventures.
“…where tourists, as well as locals, fly with parachutes. It was an amazing experience to me jumping from a sand mountain with a parachute” – Rtr. Izad Ijaz
Some were painting pictures with their words, which was truly mesmerizing.
“….but as beautiful as an enchanted wilderness. The streets were bursting at the seams with Kashmir and Hemp fiber bags and clothes. Brightly colored and patterned, a rainbow had seemingly collided into a patch of cloth and dripped into the strains of the fabric…” – Rtr. Dasith Tilakaratna
“ගලෝෂි උනා සුදු හිමේ දුවන්න ට
කද්රිල් පොල්කා හරි හරියට නටන්න ට…” – Rtr. Pavanthi Sudasinghe
One managed to bring out, comically, how we forget about everything else when “food” comes into play.
“Both were anxious as they were running out of time, but still they waited patiently with gleaming eyes and drooling over, to take a bite of that ‘heaven on a plate’” – Rtr. Damindri Herath
Our contestants did not shy away from laying out their inner turmoil when it comes to the topic “culture”.
“Should culture be something that constricts us from being our best selves?….. Should it be a barrier that stops people from healing from years of pent-up grief and generational trauma?….” – Rtr. Chami Kariyapperuma
Out of the pile, the top 3 were selected and placed under the “Best Article” title, and meanwhile, the readers eagerly voted for the “Most Popular” article.
Participants were given international-themed handmade gifts as an appreciation on their contribution to our project.
The ride was fun! Our contestants took us all on a trip, we were fed with chunks of adventure and sips of knowledge along with vivid pictures of the beauty of countries all over the world that were engraved in our minds. Their ever-growing creativity and courage to put out the thoughts that meander through their minds were outstanding.
By Rtr. Nivi Gunawardhena