Monday, 20 August 2012

Day 1 of Peace Camp - And so it begins

Day 1 of Peace Camp-August 12, 2012
Well, it’s technically day 3 because we’ve been training for the past few days… But today was the day that the campers arrived.
The first half of my day was crazy. While my Acholi campers were slowly arriving at their consolidation point, I was running around town like a headless chicken, trying to tie up loose ends, and buy last minute supplies… I think I must have lost 5 pounds.
Even though I told the campers to wait until I had returned, and until all other campers had arrived before they left, they of course, did not listen (or did not hear?) and started traveling to the camp venue on their own in small groups. It wasn’t long until I had lost track of everyone.
For Peace Camp, we invited four different tribes: the Acholi, Alur, Lango and Teso (all of whom has been affected by the Northern war).  As a regional coordinator, I was only in charge of organizing the Acholis (thank God). 
Here are some of the Acholi boys:

...But, since one of our counselors didn’t show up, I was quickly assigned her role as well. 
This is my camper group: The "Crested Cranes"

Hours later, when we finally did arrive at the venue, waiting for us was a handful of Acholis who had not been accepted to Peace Camp, but who had showed up anyway… Lucky for them, many campers from other tribes did not show up, and they were allowed to stay.
Finally, I could breathe.
The opening ceremony was very… interesting. We had invited the local police (yay!) to raise the Ugandan flag, and together we sang both the National, and each tribe’s anthem. This was before one of our invited guests grabbed the mic (I think hoping to incite a riot) and scolded the campers for singing their anthems with empty words, and not caring, while the rest of the country is suffers…
Welcome to Peace Camp! ;)

Later, we watched a break dancing group perform, watched the film “Invictus,” took our bucket baths, and went to sleep.

And as weird as the day was, I remember thinking “there’s actually nowhere else in the world I’d rather be than here.”

Peace Corps Volunteer sisters and fellow camp counselors: Aubrey Woodson, Griffin Smith, Erin Morrison, Susy Valle, and Me. :)

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