Monday, December 25, 2006
In just a few weeks I'll be leaving to spend three months in Uganda. Through January I will be in Arua, which borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the northwest of the country. I will be participating in a course run jointly through Columbia University and the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization of Uganda: Implementing Family and Community Directed Psychosocial and Mental Health Initiatives in Developing Countries Affected by War, Violence, and Natural Disaster. I know. It's a mouthful.
We will be spending a portion of our time in a classroom, but the majority of our days will be working with with refugees from Darfur, Sudan. I am humbled. Generally speaking, we will be meeting with local leaders and healers, working with existing formal and non-formal education programs, and looking into various intervention strategies, mostly for children.
During these 3 1/2 weeks I will be living in a secure compound with 16 other participants from around the world: Belgium, Portugal, Uganda, DRC Burundi, Ethiopia, and Germany. There will be 3 of us from the USA. And...there is another Aimee!
After the program, I will spend two months working, volunteering, and doing a small amount of research on my own in northern Uganda. This time will be focused on the conflict within Uganda (not Sudan), the IDP situation there, and more specifically education and the schools (more on this soon). Typically for me, it will develop in a somewhat organic fashion as I really must be there in order to know what I should be doing. I know how this sounds...
But don't worry. I will utilize my time during the program to map out my second two months. I will not float. I will be safe. I have been blessed with many friends who have collectively spent years and years and years in Uganda: working, visiting, living. They are smart. They are experienced. They have each been so kind and generous with their time and advice. I have spent the past several years learning from them, listening to them, and advocating with them in Washington, DC to end the war. I feel ready. I feel prepared: both mind and heart. I feel like I've been waiting for this moment my entire life.
Why Uganda, you ask? What's happening there? Well, that is another post entirely. I'll be back! In the meantime, love to you all. (Map via the International Crisis Group)
I found my first heartstone on the shore of Lake Kinneret in 1998 -- a pale pink rock, flat and smooth, shaped like a perfect heart. I had been in bit of a funk, and seeing this treasure sitting in the sand jolted me out of my gloom and into the day. Now they appear when I least expect it, usually when I'm needing a moment of clarity, going through a time of change, feeling especially joyful, or thinking of someone special. I've collected dozens, although I have given most of them away. Heartstones remind me to step more slowly, look for the beautiful in life and in people, and always try to listen to my truest self.
I have been considering creating this blog for some time now. In the midst of grad school, discovering others' blogs has become a new work-break, a guilty pleasure, and a great tool for procrastination. Craft blogs have become my very favorite. A creative day for me in the past has been paper and pens and glue spread willy-nilly across my living room floor, good music on the stereo. Now that I am in school, those days have become less available. I think it's funny and fabulous that two things that I have always found mutually exclusive - craft (in the more "traditional" sense, of course) and technology - have found a home together in the virtual world. More than a procrastination tool, the musings and art of these various women have inspired me to find the time for my own creative spirit -- something that often gets lost in the pages of my books. The beautiful work of Mav, Lisa, and Karin, (amongst many, many others) brightens my days. Over the course of this blog I will post links to share these newfound friends and their work, and hope that you will find bits of joy there, too.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thank you for coming over to play! I've decided to begin this blog as a way to share some of the unique and beautiful things that I find in my day to day life, keep up with far-flung friends, and stay connected through my travels. Please be patient as I figure out this whole blogging thing (it's new to me!), and please do leave comments. Here's a cup full of love for you from a Murky morning on Capitol Hill. My favorite place to spend a Saturday....