Monday, 6 August 2012

Peace Camp is a pain in my ass

Yup, I said it.
Peace Camp was created by a Peace Corps volunteer, and is designed to focus on the war-affected youth of Northern Uganda. Most participants were abducted as child soldiers. There will be eighty participants representing 4 different tribes. For one week, we will focus on reconciliation, forgiveness, peace-building tools, trauma healing and restorative justice. This will be done through workshops, guest speakers, games, movies and so on and so on.
Amazing, right? I’m stoked about it... but being a part of organizing it has been, like I've said, a pain in the ass.
First of all, I was supposed to pick 20 participants from the Acholi tribe. I received about 100 applications and spent days, hours, and WEEKS reading them over and over, trying to figure out how I could possibly rank people’s painful experiences... But I did it. (I will share some of these stories in another, more serious post).
Now that the camp is a week away, I am trying to organize all participants to show up to the same place, at the same time, on the same day. Now this might seem simple to you… and if you have the privilege of living in a Western world, then it IS simple. Here, it is nearly impossible. Since there hasn’t been any power, most people’s phones are not charged… that is, if they have a phone. I usually have to call someone’s aunt’s "brother cousin’s" daughter to find them. If I DO reach them, then I face the inevitable communication challenge that I have become so used to. I immediately turn on my “Uganglish” (I speak English with an entertaining accent, using weird terms like "you first come" so that I am understood… That is, of course, after my Acholi language skills have failed me). I usually hang up the phone disoriented, wondering what it is that I just said... Such challenges arise daily, but with the responsibility of being a regional coordinator for Peace Camp, there is a lot more pressure. After all, everything here takes fifty times more effort, and is overall… just. more. complicated.

I also have rent a bus, find an elder to speak about cultural traditions, find a prominent Acholi woman to speak about self esteem, and magically stir up 8 certified psychologists.
No problem. Ayella Pe. Hakuna Matata…
Speaking of more complicated… “water is again finished” at my house, so I am back to the good old days of standing in a bucket and “showering” with a cup.

I love my life. :)



  1. Jenna you're amazing and all your hard work will pay off! :-) And that picture is hilarious!! Love u & miss you!!!

  2. Jenna, I agree with Samantha; You ARE amazing! And, I know you will SOMEHOW do it! You always do! Love you.

    Your SIster <3

  3. Aaaaaah! Deep breaths! :))
    I can relate to every interaction being 100X more difficult in a foreign country and with language barriers.
    I imagine Peace Camp is underway now and I hope it is flowing right along.
    I love your life too!
    xo jess