Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh, the places you'll go

As a Florida girl, it's against my code of conduct to shy away from thunderstorms. The bigger the better. My host-mom doesn't understand this about me and keeps insisting that I'll be scared once I see a Ugandan storm, but I seriously doubt it. There was an awesome one last night, between the hours of 3 and 7 that I laid in bed and watched/listened to. All of the houses here have tin roofs, so the rain sounds amazing on them.

There is most definitely a mouse in my house. It may be in my room right now, or I may just be paranoid. Either way I was so thankful to realize that it wasn't my mefloquine that was making me crazy, but at the same time creeped out that there is a mouse. Reason #8 to get a cat at site.

Also in the annoying category: the lining of my rain jacket decided to disintegrate, flake all over me, and in doing this, become not waterproof anymore. Granted the jacket is seven years old, but it's a Northface, which in my opinion should make it last forever, no? Now I'm trying to decide should I order a new one and have my mom send it, order a new one and have someone bring it over when they visit, or just forget about it and get wet. Stupid rain jacket.

When I taught third grade, at the the end of the year we had a kind of relaxed week. I brought in a movie to watch, we had a party, we went through and cleaned out filing cabinets. One of my students spent a lot of that time weaving friendship bracelets, and on the last day of school, she handed me a little gift bag full of them. I put one on right away, but I think I cut it off that summer because I was in a wedding, and who wants their bridesmaid to have a friendship bracelet on? (Probably this bride, actually, but I cut it off anyway) I put another one on after the wedding was done, and I've had it on ever since. Until this morning. It finally disintegrated and fell off during my mock LPI (not that I was nervous and playing with it or anything.) Thank goodness I had the foresight to bring two extras with me from the little gift bag, so when I got home today I could tie another one on. The one that came off today had been on for a year and a half, I wonder if this one will last as long, TIA and all.

We had a session today on working in post conflict areas, which I will be doing. I am going to the north of the country, which, until five years ago, was being terrorized by a rebel army, the LRA. The LRA was known for kidnapping children and turning them into child soldiers and sex slaves. Sadly, Uganda has the record for the youngest child soldier, at five years old. Many of these children are back in school now, living either with family they've been reunited with, or in orphanages. An estimated 30,000 children were kidnapped, and 17,000 of those were made into combatants. Of the two million people living in the north of country, 1.8 million were displaced and living in camps. A lot are back at home now, but the camps are still heavily populated. There are so many factors that go into it all I can't even explain it. Some of these children will be my students. It's really difficult to process this and think of what impact I will have, if any. I feel like the people in my community and my schools are going to have more of an impact on me than I could ever hope to have on them.

8 comments:

Genie said...

Hi, I'm Rachel's mom and really enjoy reading about what you all are up to! You are a great journalist! Thanks much:)

Christina said...

Heeeeey I'm on the mef too. Just started so nothing weird yet but I'm afraid to go to sleep at night :/

Also, that's really fascinating where you'll be and who you'll be interacting with - you probably have heard of it, but just in case, have you ever heard of the organization Invisible Children? They worked with these kids.

elizabeth said...

Hey Christina, I haven't heard of that organization, but I'm working on getting my hands on the movie with the same title. I wonder if they're related?

Christina said...

I think so! Not entirely sure though. The song "Image of the Invisible" by Thrice was also written for the organization, I think... I probably wouldn't have known about Uganda's LRA and children soldiers if not for Thrice.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

Liz - I love your posts. :)
I have enjoyed reading diligently since I came across the blog. At any rate, I'm glad to see that students who will need such care and attention are going to get to benefit from your Service there!
PS: I'll be in the neighboring country of Rwanda in September! :)

H_elaine said...

Elizabeth,

The combination of my involvement in Invisible Children and being a Peace Corps Applicant is what brought me to subscribe to your blog in the first place. I'll try to keep it short, but I would like to share a little bit about Invisible Children with you.

Put simplistically, its a nonprofit organization that seeks to end the 25-year long war that Joseph Kony and the LRA have led, and bring the child soldiers home. They work to rebuild schools, educate future leaders, and provide jobs in Northern Uganda. More information can be found at their website invisiblechildren.com

Primarily, its a youth-led social movement. Some tools that IC has used to gain momentum are media such as film. The one you're talking about is probably their original documentary, "The Rough Cut". I copied the following blurb from their website:

[In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story. What started out as a filmmaking adventure transformed into much more when these boys from Southern California discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them, a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.

After returning to the States, they created the documentary "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda's night commuters and child soldiers.]

I'm not sure how you're going about obtaining a copy, but if you need help, I'd be more than happy to try and figure something out for you. I know I have 2 personal copies of it and am more than happy to send one your way.

elizabeth said...

Elaine -
That would be amazing if you could send one. I bought a copy of Aboke Girls when I was in Kampala yesterday and am hoping to get through it this week. I knew a little bit about the LRA and what had happened before coming here, but now that I'm working in the north, I find it all at once inspiring and overwhelming. I hope I can do the schools justice while I'm here and help out in some small way. My address is on my blog's front page. Thanks again and good luck with your PC application, let me know if you need anything, it can be a frustrating time!