Laura Gordon

Laura Gordon (Survivor Corps in Burundi): Laura worked as an English teacher in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 and Thailand in 2003. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Oxford with a 1st Class degree in Modern History. After graduating, Laura worked in Uganda as a research intern for the Uganda Human Rights Commission. At the time of her fellowship she was pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. After her fellowship, Laura wrote: “I'm more comfortable in my skin now, and after a couple of years of wondering where I belong, I'm now sure that it's overseas in the development world. I love Burundi and I'm desperate to go back.”

Bamboo bicycles, and other news

01 Jul

There’s a bit of a hiatus in blog posts and profiles at the moment as I’m mostly working on the CEDAC website and translating stuff into French to go on the website, but should have something interesting to say by the end of the week, and in the mean time here are some news stories I found interesting…

This is just about the coolest thing ever – people making bicycles out of bamboo as a rural livelihoods scheme. Does anyone who knows stuff about bicycles (Jenni, Jude) know if these are likely to be any good? Where can I get one!

Cote d’Ivoire is climbing in the world football rankings – people here see Cote d’Ivoire as the best chance of an African team lifting the world cup in Africa, so go them!

There’s an election going on in Guinea Bissau; I try to be optimistic about African countries where it’s at all possible, but with Guinea-Bissau and indeed Guinea Conakry, I really struggle. But apparently Guinea-Bissau is a leading exporter of cashew nuts, so if you’re wanting to help the Guinea-Bissau economy then your options are cocaine and cashew nuts.

A South African rapist apologises to his victim; I found this story interesting – like many survivor stories, full of ambiguity, but it does show that both former-victims and former-perpetrators have a role to play in preventing further abuse, and it reminds me of CEDAC’s vision of those who destroyed the country helping rebuild it.

And lastly… African Americans tracing their African roots. Although I’m a little sceptical that after all these years a person can be said to come from a particular place – surely most African Americans have mixed heritage? Having said that, I think if the countries played it right it could have a really positive impact, not only in terms of tourism (I can just imagine the ‘rediscover your traditional culture’ bus tours!), but also in terms of personal involvement with local charities – e.g. they could raise funds for local development by asking people to support a local microfinance programme or raise funds to build a school/clinic/irrigation system in the area where their ancestors lived. I’d be interested to know what people thought on this one.

Posted By Laura Gordon

Posted Jul 1st, 2009


  • Elaine Gordon

    July 2, 2009


    Definitely! If you know of any websites for former Ugandans from the Kumi/Bukedea or Masindi/Buliisa regions in Uganda, or Naivasha and Machakos Districts of Kenya I’d be interested! But many of the more recent Ugandan emigres already do help their country by sending remittances back to Uganda. It’s quite a significant source of income for the country. Don’t know about Kenyans.

  • Jenni

    July 9, 2009


    Bamboo bikes = ultimately cool! They also do bamboo road bikes at

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