Wednesday, June 09, 2010


While there is resilience there is pain and trauma everywhere. At times I wish that I had just come to document the stories that people share with us over a meal or a drink. Stories of abduction, escape, injury or lost family and friends. It is difficult to imagine what many of these people have seen and experienced. As a local doctor stated today the aftermath of war is tougher than the war itself. Trauma paralyses as does years of being forced to live in the IDP camps totally reliant on western aid.

Belief in the role of spirits in this conflict is espoused by everyone who gives their version of events. From village pastors, teachers, highly educated psychotherapists and researchers, everyone believes that Kony is guided by spirits and that the fields of the land are haunted by the spirits of the bones that were unburied. We

have asked many if whether it was a religious or political war but the two seem so intimately entwined it is impossible to separate the strands. The brutal role of the government and the army in the persecution of the Acholi is whispered in every conversat

ion. There is a willingness but a nervousness in talking openly indicating that these people still feel under threat.

It is storm season here. The storms are beautiful. Distant skys all around are lit up with lightening like a war zone. The air becomes heavy with static before unleashing torrential rain and turning streets into rivers. Paul’s room was flooded with 2 inches of water which enabled us to get upgraded rooms at half the price! Electricity and water (in spite of floods) are sporadic which adds to the interest of academic work in Africa.

We are working late on our questionnaires before starting work with the children. We've meeting with people to decide on culturally appropriate issues to look at. Questions have been formed from our research combined with discussions with local professionals and lay people. These then need to be translated to Luo (numerous times), back-translated, validated in a focus group and piloted with a few children before we start working with the school. The language here is Luo but there are so many variations it seems everyone speaks their own language. This is making the translation process long and tedious. Its important though as we want to measure the things that are an issue for the people here not people in the West, and therefore can plan appropriate interventions.

I’m conscious that it’s easy to romanticise working in a place when we've only been here a couple of weeks but it feels like life to the full.

ps I washed my own clothes for the first time and they came out smelling worse that they went in. Any suggestions??


Jan.... said...

SOooo class you are out there ACTUALLY doin 'real ' things...... researchin/ clothes washing???... (respect ! ..... get proper hand washin soap/powder....scrub+scrub +scrub hard/ hot water...rinse rinse ...then final rinse with cold ..rinse...ring and hang out to's not hard :) :) ;p??!!!....)....are u comparing ur study of these kids with kids from home ? ....PS HAve u had orange fanta, bell or miranda yet??...has anyone sung 'numba 1 Wesu??' yet???.(im only a BIG bit time at home!!!!).... riches in heaven and all the rest John....but i think wat u and Dublin boy hav planned/stepped awesome!!!! Keep walking that 'true road to somewhere'!!!!....

Dave Wylie said...

Ask felix if you can borrow one of his northern Ireland tops!