Blogging, when writing is hard

Writing in KampalaI have been trying to wrap my head around all the reasons its been hard to write about the many experiences and events I have observed in Uganda and Tanzania.  I have come up with just a few reasons.

When I observe something to share, I need to spend time understanding the situation, so I not only give you an adequate picture of the situation, but so I am also fair to all the players.  When I want to talk about the education system in Uganda, or how the World food program distributed food in Gulu I want to read what these agencies have said about the situation.  Talking to people on the ground here helps me to know the public opinion, and sometimes the events, though knowing the history and the context in which these agencies operate, help me to understand the nuanced nature of aid.

Some of the people in the situation read this blog.  At times I find myself questioning the motives of myself and other people here to help, learn, or whatever.  I question motives an/or actions, and sometimes both.  I want to be fair but I need to be honest too.  Living with this has been difficult. Living with the inconsistencies of what we are told and shown, versus what is experienced here is difficult.

I was speaking with another volunteer about this, especially about the face of poverty.  Before we arrived the picture of poverty was malnourished children losing their hair, stomachs distended, lying listless in the arms of their mothers.  While I have definitely learned to identify the more subtle signs of malnutrition I also see these kids running and jumping. Laughing with their friends as they play soccer with a crumple of plastic tied into a makeshift ball.  Now we can see the breadth of life, not just its darkness, but its light. This is hard to convey.

There are also so many moment’s to share.  My feelings of exhaustion have kept me company for the better part of 2 months, have nothing to do with the temperature, or being jet lagged.  Its just all my senses, smell, sight, sound, and heart are all being bombarded, as if I was trying to sleep in Times Square or in the bus depot in Kampala.  The noise, light, and people are just too numerous trying to isolate just one short circuits my brain. My brain sometimes feels like a mid 90’s computer, slowly working through whatever simple function, it will eventually reach a solution, you just can’t rush.

What I know for sure is my heart has been expanded by a whole continent and that kind of expansion is amazing and tiring.

One thought on “Blogging, when writing is hard

  1. Cassandra, I think you’ve done a marvelous job on posting, including nuances. At least I now know an Africa I didn’t know before. I also know that it’s difficult to provide aid, (be it money, equipment, manpower, whatever) when we see a problem through our eyes and not their eyes. The goal should be to build self-reliance in people who need help and somehow to do that without robbing them of self esteem. I’m sure it will take a higher power to do that, but even prayer seems almost hopeless.

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