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Long Flight to Sri Lanka

I arrived in Narita airport after a long flight that left Seattle about 11 hours ago. My trip to Sri Lanka actually started early morning yesterday about 6 AM US CST in Madison. On the way, I stopped in Denver and Seattle for a couple of hours and have about two hours in Narita before I continue on to Singapore for today. My next flight for Colombo is after 23 hours, a long layover in Singapore tonight. This flight is too long.

The flight so far has been fine except that I didn’t get a seat by the window. This morning, when I had boarded in Madison, I specifically asked for the window seats and the person at United counter had assured me that he had given me one. The, seat 41F on flights from Denver to Tokyo, I thought was by the window until I boarded huge Boeing 777, which had 3 rows with five seats on the middle row. The seat 41F was not only in the middle row, it was middle of the middle row. Plus, because of the seat arrangement, the little screen in front of row was little to the right, which meant I had to tilt my head by 30 degree to the right to watch movies. I hated that. Again, in next flight to Singapore, I am not by the window……………… I like window seats not only because it allows me to look outside but even when cruising over 35,000 feet where can’t see anything, I can have my little private space by the corner, tilt my head and sleep my way.

Despite the window less situation, the flight’s been ok. Even though it’s long flight, I am pretty used to these long hauls and once you are used to sitting in the chair, in front of computer, for eight or nine hours straight, these flights don’t become terribly bad. It’s almost the same, except that I had to bother people around me to go to bathroom or straighten myself.

In between the naps and movies – Bewitched, Transporter, and a portion of Batman Begins – I managed to read a book called, “Beyond Our Borders – Grant Making to International Organizations.” Reading this book had been on my list for last several weeks, finally got the chance. After reading the book, I am worried that Sarvodaya USA (SUSA) might not have been strictly following IRS rules in international grant making. One major problem was the notion about control and oversight over the fund granted to international partners. According the book, IRS rules doesn’t allow tax deduction to organizations that are established as a conduit or act as a conduit of international organization to tap into resources of the US. To a degree, the explicit board approval to send money to Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka (LJSSS) can be called as “control over the fund” but I am worried that might not be sufficient and some form of formal grant making process seems inevitable between these two entities. One question, I had reading the book, however, was what would constitute control and oversight? The book acknowledges that there is no clear explanation that IRS has given and recommends to lean on conservative side. It recommended that a formal contract be signed, formal language be adopted to define the project where fund would be used, and finally a strong and stringent reporting requirement put on place. Again, on reporting requirement, I wonder if general reports would suffice or should there be separate reports to Sarvodaya USA? Gordon has always said that one general report should be sufficient but I am not so sure at this point, a more thorough investigation needs to be done, I think. One more thing to work on when I return back. Plus, these stringent requirements might not be easy for LJSSS to accept easily as it would add extra burden on reporting but to sustain Sarvodaya USA as a viable and legal entity that would funnel funds to it, this seems to be like a necessary evil.

In Narita, I had hoped to find free wireless connections and to check emails. But, unfortunately, you have to pay to access the internet. I only have a few minutes to be on the net and I am not in a mood to do that………..

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Local solutions for education

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