Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I forgot plug converters when I was packing, so I totally had to jury-rig this thing with coils to plug in my computer.  I'm a little scared that I did that.


I'm in Kigali.  It's lovely.  Green rolling hills & terra-cotta roofs, like Kampala.  Like ancient Rome.  And here I am, moving to Goma, the modern-day Pompeii!

(I'm so glad I studied the Classics in school.  Time-and-again they prove relevant to my day-to-day life.)

I'm exhausted.  Exhausted-exhausted-exhausted.  I'm here for the night in a lovely guesthouse, & then driving up to Goma tomorrow a.m.

I pulled a Derek Zoolander on the airplanes, staring at my reflection in the little malfunctioning personal videoscreen embedded into the seat in front of mine, and questioning, "Who am I?"  Who am I, & who do I want to be, as an aid worker?  I'm terrified of being the rich-jackass-on-the-hilltop aid worker, but there is the equally real danger of being the "I'm one with the poor!" jackass aid worker (to quote a blogger, who reminded me that just because in Kitgum I periodically drank, cooked with, and bathed in rainwater, I shouldn't think I'm more special than I am.  Which was a valid point.  We the foreigners are not, and never can be, "one with the poor").

After thirty-six hours of plane-flights & angst, I came to the conclusion that I should probably stop thinking about myself so much and just be myself, whatever that entails, and do my job.


For most of the sixteen hour flight from DC to Addis (with a stop off in Rome, but we couldn't deplane), I had three seats to myself.  Insanely lucky.  I slept relatively well.  In the last twenty minutes, a guy came up from the back to sit in my row, I assume so he could get off the plane faster once we docked.  He started chatting with me even though I was clearly attempting to read.  He asked what I was doing in Addis, and when I explained that it was just a transfer point, and my final destination was Goma, he responded with excitement, & detailed how his Grandfather, a missionary, had been killed in eastern Congo in the "uprising of the '60s".

That stunted our conversation.

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