Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Yesterday was our pre-test of questions. I can talk more about it, but a lot was in Acholi so I am only now getting the complete translations from my lovely & committed teammates. But one thing happened that horrifies me and that can never, never, never happen again, which is that I, as the token white member of the group, was also the one who passed out the candies that we gave to the children as a "Thank you for sitting still in this heat and speaking your mind; it was nice to meet you" treat.

First of all, from now on we will give out soap. I'm the one who chose the candies and apparently I chose all wrong, haha; everyone laughed at me for my choice, my teammates AND the participants.

Secondly -- and this is the real problem with what happened -- I can never, never, never be the only one passing things out. It makes my skin crawl to think of that in light of the historical truths and memories in this section of the world. Me, the visiting white girl, handing out candies to the Africans in the IDP camp. Oh my god. Oh my god.

I talked to my team about that and they of course were sweet and calming and said that I shouldn't blame myself, it just happened like that, we were disorganized is all; also, moreover, it was the pre-test! So we were SUPPOSED to make mistakes, and to see them, recognize them, and change our behaviors accordingly.


As I was walking to market last night to buy a bottle of wine, an Acholi woman walking the other way along the path greeted me by saying "How are you, my daughter?" She was gone as quickly as she came, barely before I could choke out my response, which was "Thank you". I could have cried for love of her, for her kindness.


J (whom I have appreciated much in the last two days) went to a briefing this morning and reports back a rumor that the LRA is traveling back in this direction. WTF. The last news I heard was that Kony is killing people in Sudan and abducting children in the DRC, where he is also, "they" say, elbow-deep in diamond mines. Why would he come back here? He (and others) have decimated this society. What more does he want from here? Really. What more can he gain?

He keeps dragging out the peace talks in a farcical manner, getting more food aid and health aid for each and every week he stalls. Eventually, he'll sign the document; and what will that mean? When he breaks the peace treaty, what will happen to him? He'll get in trouble with the ICC? Oh, wait.... (Been there, done that.)

I guess -- though -- to be positive -- that the continued hope of the peace talks might be that, in a show of good faith, maybe Kony will release some abducted children and child-brides.

Why don't they just kill him? Oh. Right. Military industrialism. And power gained through war.

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