“That’s the name of our President and our Prime Minister’s wife!” is the comment I heard most often when I introduced myself as “Maitri from the USA” during my trip to Sri Lanka. My reply was usually, “Yes I’ve heard that and I love that I don’t have to explain what it means or how to pronounce it as I do back home.”
My husband and I decided to travel to Sri Lanka in January 2017, to determine if it is a country we might want to live in someday. We were immediately impressed with the people, culture, natural beauty and religious diversity. It didn’t take long before we discovered even more to love.
Because I work in the solar industry in the United States, I was curious if there was any solar development in Sri Lanka. Before booking our trip, I Googled, “Sri Lanka Solar” and clicked the top result for JLanka Technologies. Surprised by the scale the company was working at in such a small country, I decided to send an introductory note through the CONTACT US form. I was surprised to receive a personal reply from the President a couple days later with an invitation to visit their company in person to learn more and share solar best practices.
While I was in Sri Lanka, I was able to spend a week at the JLanka office comparing the solar markets in our two countries. I had no idea I was meeting with the solar leaders of the country!
I had the pleasure of spending some time with the company’s co-founder, Mrs. Jayosama. We quickly discovered we had more in common than our petit statures of only 150cm! In fact, we both diligently worked as the second employee in a growing start up and served as the “get it all done” motherly figure in our respective solar companies. Our common personal interests included our daily yoga and meditation practices, love for nature and a deep desire to protect it. We discussed our mutual work philosophy of “seva”, selfless service, to do what is in the highest and best good for all. Hugging goodbye at the end of my trip, we both felt we found a soul sister across the planet.
To hear JLanka had the honor of being chosen to install solar on forty of the countries most sacred and famous religious icons was astounding. I’m sure that was a very proud moment for my dear friend, Mrs. Jayasoma as it aligns with all of her personal and professional goals to help green Sri Lanka and provide quality jobs.
All in all, I was not only joyfully greeted as an American with a Buddhist name in the “glittering island”, but I was welcomed with maitri (loving kindness.) In the next article I will share more about the greening of Sri Lanka’s temples in keeping with the Buddhist respect for nature.