Peace is not the absence of war. We’re fated to pretend.

22 09 2008

Currently, northern Uganda is experiencing relative peace. You wouldn’t even realize that a war has been going on for more than 20 years. In fact, about a week ago I was enjoying my iPod on a drive from Fort Patiko to Gulu when our conductor (co-pilot to the driver we hired) tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp we were passing. He said, “In 2003, Lukodi IDP camp was attacked by the LRA.” The reality of Uganda’s history came back into perspective. Before the conductor had tapped me on the shoulder I was enjoying MGMT sing about how we’re all fated to pretend, and now reality had hit me square in the face. Over 200 human beings were killed in broad day light as a rebel army (the LRA), raped and burned people alive. Relative peace may be a sign of hope, but that doesn’t erase the trauma the people of northern Uganda have experienced. Peace is not the absence of war. Northern Uganda desires peace of heart, mind and soul. Healing from 20 years of war will take more than hope, but hope is the beginning of change.

Yes, I’m in Uganda.

I bet some of you are thinking, “again?” and you’re right. This trip makes 7, which in the opinion of some is a lucky number and an incredible film starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman (if you haven’t seen “Seven” I recommend it).

Why am I in Uganda again? Good question.

On September 4th, I departed San Diego with nine Invisible Children “roadies”. The roadies are volunteers that raise over $1,500 each in order to sustain themselves for 3 months while they travel all over North America (the United States & Canada) showing Invisible Children’s newest documentary, GO. There are 13 teams of roadies that travel on 13 different routes making sure to cover as much of the United States and Canada as possible and the purpose of their travels is to spread awareness, advocate and raise tons of money to accomplish Invisible Children’s mission [“Invisible Children is a social, political, and global movement using the transformative power of a story to change lives. By inspiring youth culture to value creativity, idealism, and sacrifice, the movement fuels the most effective, adaptable, and innovative programs in the world.”] The trip consisted of seeing, learning and experiencing all of IC’s operations in Uganda. They visited our Kampala office, Gulu office (some visited our Pader office), spent a day in the life of a mentor, visited the schools we’re helping to rebuild and enjoyed an official IC Uganda party.

The trip was amazing. One of the best aspects of my job is leading trips because I find joy in seeing such dedicated individuals experience Uganda for the first time.