After exams were over for my first year of graduate school I celebrated with champagne in a posh bar in Carmel. The table of strangers across at the next table congratulated me and my colleagues and asked me what was next, “Advocating for the disabled in northern Uganda.” The contrast of settings was surreal. They shifted uncomfortably in their seats and made a few comments about all those “poor victims in Africa.” I smiled and explained that the region I’m going to is experiencing a renaissance of hope and that the individuals I’ve connected with during my planning have sent me the warmest letters of gratitude and joy. A woman in the group asked how she could help. (Of course I gave them my AP website that includes a donations link!)
Once I threw myself into the idea that I was actually going to Uganda for the summer and started making inquiries the connections flooded in. I’m eager to meet all the wonderful people in Gulu who have sent me such warm messages. The tone of their corrospondance astounds me after having read of the unfathomable horror that took place there. Everyone I have met tells that the memories press closely but the sense of hope is equally present.
My images of mondern Gulu were best formed by my conversations with fellow graduate student Muwor Dior who is from southern Sudan. I gave him a worried look about finding accommodation and he returned with a belly laugh and, “Oh Christine, a family will take you in, everyone is wonderful there. You will have a great time.” The next day he connected me with Joyce Laker who is also an alumna from our school and from Gulu. Not only was she extremely kind in offering me assistance with securing lodging but, to my surprise she she wrote, “My mother was the coordinator for the Union for a long period of time since its inception. …I am so excited for you and my mum will be very proud of you.” One more incredible sign that I’m supposed to be going to Gulu.
My heart is open and ready for more confirmation that not only will I be fine in Gulu,but my fellowship with GDPU will manifest incredible opportunities. http://www.advocacynet.org/page/campaigngdpu
Posted By Christine Marie Carlson
Posted May 27th, 2010