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.”

High Heels and Dirt Roads

26 Jun

If you’re wondering how to walk in high heels on a dirt road, the answer is: don’t.

If you really, really have to, then the answer is: go in flip flops and change when you get there.

And if you really, really, really have to, then the answer is: lean forward, thus transfering your weight to the balls of your feet, and basically walk on tip toe. Disadvantages: hurts like hell, slow, high risk of breaking an ankle.

As for why I found myself in this awkward position… last night Claver and I went to the premiere of a film produced by Iriba, an NGO started by members of the Burundian Diaspora in Belgium, that aimed to promote reconciliation and explain the work of the (so far hypothetical) truth, justice and reconciliation commission. It did this by showing the story of two families, and what happens when they find the body of a member of one of the families who was killed in the fighting, possibly by the other family. The film showed how they were able to talk to resolve their differences, and eventually allow a the daughter of one family to marry the son of the other (awww…). It was very well done and managed to avoid being too preachy – it was also very funny, if the shouts of laughter from around the auditorium were anything to go by. Unfortunately the subtitles (it was in Kirundi subtitled in French) didn’t really capture the humour, but it was still entertaining. It’s also good to see CSO’s taking on the challenge of educating the population about the Commission and the benefits it can have in terms of reconciliation and writing the national history – I’ve done a bit of reading on the Truth Commission in Sierra Leone, which operated alongside the Special Court, and one of the major problems they had there is that no-one really understood what it was for and didn’t feel comfortable using it. Hopefully initiatives such as that by Iriba and their partners in the Burundian media can avoid a similar problem in Burundi.

In other news, although my French is getting better, I’m starting to think in Franglais all the time (i.e. not just when speaking French) and losing the ability to translate French-English. This is not good.

Posted By Laura Gordon

Posted Jun 26th, 2009

1 Comment

  • Miranda

    June 30, 2009


    An creative form of proactive outreach about the Commission – like we’ve heard over and over justice and/or reconciliation needs to have buy-in from the population if it has any hope of working. This is an interesting contribution to the process.

    … oh, and might I suggest you invest in a pair of flats?

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *