Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
stay tuned for more....
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Two more days in Yei. I think I'm ready to go. Wait, I KNOW, I'm ready to go. The long hot days are making me a bit delirious, but no fear, I'm still finding ways to smile and have back aching laughs. I've been staying at the CTC, Crop Training Center, that 1/4 of a mile off the Yei-Juba road at the end a cul de sac. Just before the entrance gate is a small path that leads towards a small village consisting of 15 tukuls on the left handside. About 1/2 down there is a road that is a short cut over to what we call non profit row. UNHCR, ARC, NPA and UMCOR all have their headquarters on this road. I usually take this back way to avoid the main road where Boda Boda drivers love to hiss at the white girl, "Sissstta, Boda boad-ride for free sista." I'd rather not thank you. My legs work just fine. So I take this back way to be less conspicuous. Ha right. Last week I was leisurely strolling the short cut, strategizing how to get across the small pond that was created after the early morning rain. As I made my way across and began to summit a small hill I heard the call.
KAWAAJA! KAWAAJA! (white person)
I hear the watchman make his call. All of a sudden little dark bodies, some naked, some dressed in over size shirts, all screaming and laughing came stampeding out of nowhere. KAWAAJA! KAWAJA! Just writing this, I have to pause and laugh. It is honestly a site I will hold dear to my heart, since I feel like a celebrity everytime it happens. Their excitment is a little ubsurd and hysterical but an absolute delightful to see. I liken it to those vidoes where people are getting squashed, crying and sobbing at concerts trying to touch Michael Jackson or Bono. Their beautiful little bodies get as tight as fiddle strings and they can barely breath. They run after me smiling, shouting, "kawaaja, kawaaja how are you? how are you? I am fine!" They all extend there tiny little hands so I can shake and greet them. They do it over and over and over until I eventually make my way past their territory. "Bye Bye Kawaaja" they yell. I turn around and smile and watch as passers by say,"they love to practice their English."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
We, or rather I, take a lot for granted in life. I like going to the grocery store on a hot summer day, knowing when the door opens there will be air conditioning that is almost too cold as I wander the aisles looking for the perfect snack. I enjoy being exhausted and flopping on my bed not worrying if my mosquito net is tucked in. After being in
Ok I’ve traveled down some less than perfect roads in the backwoods of
Yesterday I was invited to take a ride to Kaya to take pictures an visit some primary schools that my friend Sashi has opened here in
At 10:05 I jumped into a land cruiser with Sashi, two engineers, a field worker, a woman about to give birth and her sister. The beginning of any journey is filled with gusto and optimism. I sat welcoming the thoughts of stopping to buy bananas, avocado, roasted corn and g-nuts from the local villagers. I was also excited because the road to Kaya takes you along the border of
We zig zagged our way through the labryinth and made it to the border where we ushered the pregnant woman on to the next leg of her journey and then we turned around to do it all over again.
I was glad to see the landscape. A more mountainous terrain than what I've been used to in Yei. The lush hillside was breathtaking even though my butt was enduring a numbness I prayed wasn't permanent. Our way home was much less energetic as we stopped by the funeral to pay our respects and then continued on moving in and out of sleep while our heads bounced like weeble wobbles. As Sashi pulled up to let me out I thought of 89 and how smooth the road is. How we cover distance so easily complaining when we hit rush hour traffic. I will be pressed to bark at road travel in the U.S. for sometime to come. I wonder how it will feel to ride on asphalt again.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
What do we want? Protection
What do we need? Safety
What did we lose? Dignity
What do we have?Hope
They also wrote and prepared a song and a dramatization of a family forced to flee all they had due to war. They each wrote essay's about living their lives as refugees or about friends and family that had been forced to live in camps. Incredibly moving and heartwrenching. We built them up. They were so excited to perform in Freedom Square infront of a crowd of people. But of course nothing seems to go smoothly here. How were we going to get our girls into town? Our school is located 8 miles out of town, beyond the level 3 emergency level set by the UN. They would not provide us transportation. The girls were devestated. Lauren, Megan, Deana and I couldn't do this to them. Lauren and I went to an organization and pleaded with them to rent us a 3 ton tipper truck. They were very willing but it would take some more planning. At 6 am we waited a the gate to drive out to the school and load the back of it with 45 girls and 5 teachers!!
They piled in and when I say piled in I mean piled in. They were singing and laughing and so ready to perform. Lauren and I followed behind in the Land Cruiser to make sure no one fell off Thankfully all were safe less than a few girls vommitting off the side. I CANNOT describe the condition of the road we travel on. We got them to the meeting spot on time and they marched to Freedom Square. Can I say I felt proud?? In their orange shirts, carrying signs they made that said NEW SUDAN EDUCATION INTIATIVE-Building Peace Through Education and holding the New Sudan Flag. They were scheduled to perform at 12:00 and at 12:30 they took the stage. I could barely hold back the tears. They were beautiful, strong and screaming, "WE ARE FROM NESEI SCHOOL. WE ARE BUILDING PEACE THROUGH EDUCATION."