Sunday, May 21, 2006


Last night I sat down and uploaded several photos and wrote some text, and then when I hit the "publish" button it all disappeared into that black internet hole. A bit frustrating! There are so many photos already that I'd like to post.

I spent yesterday afternoon drinking tea, reading a book, and chatting with other expat workers on the terrace of a lovely small hotel/restaurant located 20 minutes walk from our office. The terrace has a spectacular view over the lake, nearby islands and the hotel's garden which is a cascade of bamboo, lime trees, torch ginger, bougainvillea, and many other tropcial flowers sloping down to the lake shore. It is beautiful, serene, peaceful; the lake tranquil. The calm belies the terror hidden in the surrounding countryside, where ordinary people and their children are suffering violence and dying at an astounding rate, all but ignored by the international community.

I work with a team of eight local staff. They go out every day and train primary school teachers and staff at orphanages and transition centres for marginalised children. Young women and children are the sorriest victims in this unseen and incomprehenisble war - a mishmash of soldiers, military groups, rebels, armed gangs, all fighting over land, minerals, resources, power. The children have been orphaned by the fighting, some seeing parents murdered before their eyes; they are orphaned by HIV/AIDS; they are dragged into the conflict as child soldiers (both girls and boys) or join willingly on the promise of food; they are raped and then shunned by society; they are accused of witch craft and expelled from families that cannot feed them. But they are still children and young people with the same rights, feelings, and hopes for the future as young people everywhere.

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