Limbo

So here we are, at the end of the second week of May. The first group of CVAP volunteers should have been settling into life in Uganda and getting into their various working groups.

Instead, we are all anywhere but Uganda. Volunteers have spread out across Montreal and beyond. It is a though we are all in limbo. Waiting, but not knowing exactly for what. The historian in me cannot see the country’s stability improving overnight and even if it were to, I don’t believe it would stay that way for long. These kinds of social problems and economic woes are measured in years, not weeks. I cannot lie, the thought of being in the country during a surge of protest and retaliation is an intoxicating mix of dread and curiosity. It is like standing on the edge of a precipice and being exhilarated to jump and terrified to do so.

Now that we have not been meeting on a regular basis as a group, I feel a lot of the momentum that was building starting to dissipate. It is not so much that I do not want to go anymore, the journey process is becoming more personal, rather than communal. This journey started as a personal goal to travel to Uganda and make/experience an impact, however, insignificant or profound. I had wanted to take on a personal side initiative related to my trip to Uganda, but it has proven difficult to remain motivated without a support network. Is this just part of the learning process? Perhaps I am being educated in how to function as an individual; to complete a task on my own, as an adult. (Am I even capable of even being such a fatalist as to believe this?)

In my greedy escapade to consume every bit of information related to the current environment on the ground in Gulu and Uganda as a whole, I have become submerged in a deluge of negative information, rivalry and violence. Even the stories of personal courage and determination, are tinged with hubris. There is a distinct, and at times infuriating, division between what the Western and the Ugandan media will report on.

The Ugandan papers only speak of the Walk-to-Work Campaign, the attacks on its supporters, its condemnation by the Museveni government and the upcoming executive announcements regarding the cabinet, presidential inauguration and the budget. The vast majority of the Western media only seemed to be concerned with the horrendous anti-gay legislation that was debated in Parliament. As there was two years ago, there was an internet media explosion of debate and condemnation of the Ugandan government for such proposed action. Even in my group of friends, all anyone seemed to want to ask about was would this legislation pass. Everyone seemed to place a hierarchy on human rights; right to assembly did not outweigh the right to equality. Do not take this statement as me indicating that I am anti-equality, anit-gay or that I personally have a hierarchy of human rights – I study the things full-time. By sheer numbers, right to assembly affects a MASSIVE number of people and, frankly, can facilitate the protection of other basic human rights, odd enough like equality. I guess this may just be a generational thing; my generation has experienced the right to assembly, while some of its members still fight for equality; I’ll just give this one up to generational consciousness.

So, as I run out the door to experience the privilege that being born basically white, in a free Western democracy, to financial security, education and gainful employment has ensured for me, I still do so in limbo; unsure of what exactly will happen in the future. I will remain, for most intents and purposes, stalled until June 18 when the CVAP board of directors again evaluates the situation in Uganda and decides our fate. I suppose in the end, I am forced to be a fatalist.

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