Thursday, February 01, 2007

A List

A few days into our training, we broke up into country groups. Those of us fortunate enough to come from stable, peaceful countries sat with classmates from other places: Uganda, Burundi, Egypt, Vietnam, DRC. The nationals of those countries then listed the problems of their home, as associated with current or past conflict and/or catastrophe. I sat with the Ugandans and took their notes. Their list has since become very real to me, as I've seen and heard of most of these problems now myself. The list, the words themselves, though, are seared in my mind. I'd like to share with you what they shared with me. The friends who shared these work in the field, mostly up north, every day. I'm warning you, these are not easy to digest. They are painful, real day-to-day problems. The first set was determined to be the most prevelant and severe, and then after that tehy are no particular order -- and in their words.

Problems of Conflict Areas - Uganda
Ongoing insecurity
Depression and psychological stress
Change of behavior: drugs, alcohol,prostitution, defilement, abuse

Increased school dropout
Loss of traditional values
Early marriage
Early pregnancy
Rejection of many by the community (esp.returned combatants, child mothers)
Lack of activity, despondence

Family disintegration

Loss of life in crossfire
Moral decay

Loss of hope
Loss of property/land

Continued abduction
Interruption of economy, no way to earn a living

What to do?
Try not to get overwhelmed.
Take a deep breath.
One step at a time.
Makes you feel pretty fortunate, doesn't it?

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