I’ve been interning with the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative for two days now. I go to the ARLPI office (only a fifteen minute walk away, depending how much tea is in my system) at 8:00 a.m. to partake in the morning worship ceremony. The only frustrating thing is that the Internet is extremely slow and it’s often difficult to work because the connection will drop unexpectedly. The only disgusting thing is the latrine, where everyone is supposed to use the restroom. It’s a quite deceiving facility because the building actually looks like something where a toilet would be…but no. The toilet is basically a hole in the ground with two raised bricks on either side for one to put their feet onto before getting down to business. ***Change of Subject*** Everyone takes lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. then it’s back to work until 5:00 p.m. I had anticipated that it would be overwhelming but it is in fact the exact opposite—so far!
Everyone in the complex has been extremely gracious and helpful. There is another young intern that showed up in the office yesterday. I believe that he wants to become a religious leader in his own village but he is quite shy and doesn’t speak very much. I have spent most of my days reviewing articles from the media concerning Uganda, Sudan, and the Congo while focusing on aspects such as reconciliation, empowerment of women, movement of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and the current Ugandan presidential campaign. I’ll also be writing situational reports for the months of April and May and will be busy writing letters to U.S. Congressmen starting on Friday concerning the recent bill that Obama passed regarding the LRA.
I share an office with Wade, my ARLPI mentor, and have learned much about his character from working with him for only a short while. I’ve also met one of the religious leaders, Father J., and was able to learn about his purpose at ARLPI. He explained to me ARLPI’s views of the recent war in Northern Uganda and how violence is not the answer to any form of conflict. He said, “Listen to God, you shall not kill. You should never raise your voice or a finger to anyone, no matter how different they are from you.” He went on to tell me about the storm that is still hovering over Northern Uganda and how ARLPI is stuck in the downpour because of the media and political toxins that have flourished due to unreliable sources and mislead reporters. This man seems so selfless and humble, I hope to see him more often.
June 3, 2010
Most of the religious leaders went to Entebbe and Kampala this week in order to celebrate the Martyr’s Day celebration, which is today actually. Since today is a holiday I am not required to go into work! I plan to go back to the market to buy groceries for the week (and to selfishly invest in some American products from the Indian store, called “Prince”). I also had two skirts made for myself last week by a woman named Florence. My friend, Jayanni, and I stopped by her shop yesterday and only one of them was finished but they are absolutely beautiful! Each skirt, with fabric costs included, should only cost about $7.00 or $8.00 each. After such a busy week I can’t wait to get them from her and wear them!
Tomorrow is my last day of work for the week so hopefully I will find out whether or not I can go into the field soon. I am truly thankful that this opportunity worked out the way I wanted it to and can’t wait to see what happens throughout the rest of the summer!