Personal newsPosted to: Christina Jordan (269) by Christina Jordan (269), 3 years ago
Edited: 3 years ago
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It's been a long time, dear friends....
The past many moons have been rather all-consuming in other realms of my global life...
After 10.5 very intense years of Life in Africa, we have recently moved (back) to Brussels, Belgium for 2-3 years as a stepping stone in planning our next family moves to the S. E. Asia region
The boys and I arrived in Brussels in mid April. The house is mostly unpacked, we're working our ways into new family routines, and I am making plans for getting myself back up and running with some new work endeavors.
First, I am planning to accept a part-time (12-15 hours per week) job on the telecommuting staff roster at http://www.Transtec.be, the multi-disciplinary development consulting firm that I worked for here in Brussels before I moved to Uganda.
Second, I am also planning to rent 50 hours/month office space at The HUB in Brussels http://brussels.the-hub.net/publ ic/ - I'm very excited about this! Spending time at the HUB offers me a framework for getting to know other social entrepreneurs and a network of adults I can actually talk to about ideas for my next project.
Yes, Third - there is a new project in the works that I am starting to feel driven to pursue now. It's pretty big, fun and intellectually interesting. I am currently putting some serious creative energy into scheduling the time I want to "sustainably" be able to work on it by September this year.
I'm not going to say much about the actual project yet, but I can let you know that community collaboration will be an important element. I've been putting some serious thought lately into ways to incorporate nedspace into my current project, in ways that can hopefully inject some new life into the dialogues here. I am still convinced that this platform offers the best collaborative tools I've ever experienced.
Until/as that happens, I am determined to work my way through David Bale's birthday plot (see http://www.ned.com/user/u4370886 29/news/7/). Probably not as fast as one day at a time, but I hereby commit to David's one step at a time plan to get myself back into the swing of things here (thanks David!). For the sake of getting back to work, I really do want to start being here more. I hope you will be too.
Huge hello hugs from Brussels to all my old friends! Be sure to let me know if you'll be passing through "The Capital of Europe" any time soon. Nedsters are always welkom :)
P.S. I originally posted note this on 15 June, and on 27 July I decided to edit out some of the tragic personal details that I initially posted at the beginning... time to move on! If you're a close friend and want to know more about what happened prior to this big move, pm me :)
Edited: 4 years ago
Comments: 12 by 5 members
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I have recently been putting the pieces of a PhD proposal together. One of the things I would like to include is a current review of the literature about the state of our global development aid systems.
I'd love to hear about any worthwhile titles you may have either read personally or heard about within the past 5-10 years, that touch at all on the state of global aid and/or policy effectiveness in the developing world. Anything you might come across about the impact of new media on development would also be a very welcome addition.
Thanks for your input!
Edited: 5 years ago
Comments: 19 by 14 members
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Who would have known that after so many months - years even - of planning a working sabbatical away from the Life in Africa communities in Uganda, my own life in Africa would change so dramatically that I would not want to leave Uganda.
Since the accident I am plunged into a new world (though literally around the corner from where I have lived for past 5 years) where nobody thinks of me as a social entrepreneur. I am simply the not yet official daughter in law who has stepped up to take care of the injured and grieving patriarch, in a very large, very closely knit and well connected modern Acholi family. Norbert's mom's shoes are way too big for me to fill - she is deeply missed - but I am trying to hold the fort, some days managing this huge (and hungry) household better than on other days. But slowly we are all regaining a sense of balance. I might even dare to say that we are managing well. Norbert and I are getting along great; Daddy has been a delightful patient and is mending, though slowly, as would be expected at 76.
My working sabbatical in the USA is canceled, and in addition to managing the household there is tons to do. This family collectively has thousands of acres to develop in Northern Uganda, now that peace can allow it. When visitors come to call (sometimes a dozen or more in a day) we talk about bio-fuel and some of the things we experienced in Thailand, and make interesting connections with ideas that others are doing. There are many other family projects brewing, including some that have moved from back burner to forefront as we figure out where we go from here, in this new domestic configuration. Norbert's Dad will be needing a lot of care for some time to come.
Nothing changes for the Opok Farm plans - this year's priority project remains to build the basic dormitory infrastructure that can enable community learning and community building activities to begin taking place at the farm in early 2009. I'm hoping for regular communications with Evvy and grace on Life in Africa stuff, so as to stay in the loop and offer what knowledge I can as an active Board member while they continue to move forward from here. I also look forward to cheering the communities on from the sidelines - Grace is doing a bang-up job of leading them right now.
I am sorry that I won't be able to make the Salt Spring Island Ned meet-up after all. And if I don't appear here as often as in the past, I hope you will all understand that life's twists and turns have led me to a situation that I never would have imagined for myself right now. My old online haunts are simply not getting much of my time these days. Things have been kind of turned upside down, but we are embracing the challenges as best we can.
Wishing all of you nothing but the best as you continue to change the world - without me trying to keep up with you for a while.
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Anyone notice that bit of flurried action today when we couldn't print anything here in Gulu so decided to sign stuff electronically? That was kinda cool, and I'm glad the computers and internet could still work on the solar panels, but I am also sooooo glad to be taking a break from these infrastructure challenges!
I've got bags going to ethiopia, thailand and the USA all packed. We leave Gulu in about 3 hours for Kampala and fly out tomorrow afternoon. There were some things I'd hoped to get done that I didn't do... but generally speaking I think I'm ready.
After Thailand I'll be stopping back in Uganda for another 3-4 week whirlwind of activity mid march - early april, before heading off to the USA. Don't plan to be online much for the next couple of months, so please be nice to the LiA folks while I am gone :) I'll miss them, and all of you. But I'll be back soon, and maybe Linda will even let me say hello from her computer (if I can find the energy) once or twice from her part of the world.
Thanks to all who've sent personal messages wishing a good trip - your encouragement is much appreciated. I'll look forward to sharing what we learn when I make it back online.
hugs to everyone here at ned, and at LiA Gulu and LiA Kireka.
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Last night Norbert and I delivered 2 dead children to the city mortuary, and admitted their mama to Mulago hospital with the severe burn wounds she received when she went back into the burning house next door to save them. A third child burned in the 3 level bunk-bed that was the center of the tragedy. Police and hospital staff told us that toxic smoke from the bottom mattress that caught fire when a lantern exploded caused all of the children in the room to die in their sleep before anyone in the house knew the bed was on fire.
Today I can't get the image of those two dead children tossed into the back of our car out of my head. The 10 year old was mama's son. The 6 year old was an orphan she was caring for. The baby who burned was her grandchild, whose mother just left her quarrelsome husband to move back home with mama. Mama is the landlady of the new WE Center Kampala location - I have been staying there for the past week, and mama and her family (including about 10 kids) live next door. When the hullabaloo started at about 1:30 we connected the snapping sounds and screams with domestic violence. Our security guard thought so too at first. Then it seemed to be getting really out of control so I got up to go outside to find out what was going on and saw the flames.
There was no water pressure. I had a case of mineral water that we handed over the fence, and then we started trying to collect what we could in buckets from every tap around. It took about 3 minutes to get a liter of water into a bucket. Very frustrating as the wailing sounds from the neighbor family next door kept mounting. Our askari Joseph actually went into the house to get the mother out, who was near collapse on the ground inside. He brought her out unconscious and kept going inside with a few of the older boys to dump what water there was on the bed in flames, managing to sustain only a sore throat and a small 1st degree burn on the back of his hand. I was so proud of him.
Once the flames were finally out, we called to anyone who was injured to get in the car. I've never seen Norbert drive so fast. It wasn't until after 5am that we were able to lay down and get some sleep (and that I noticed I'd sustained some cuts and bruises myself in the chase for tiny amounts of water). At the hospital we waited while one of the brothers filed reports with the police about the dead bodies - on the police scanner there we were listening to other policemen struggling to find the exact place. They took the burned-up baby and it's mother to the police station to officially report that death. It's a muslim family so apparently all 3 burials are being held right away today in following with muslim custom.
The house next door is closed up with nothing but burned remains and some mats borrowed from LiA inside. All night and all day long now, neighbors have been streaming by to see the site, and often to wail at the agony of this horrible tragedy. It really bothers me that I do not even know their names. We were all in such a daze last night that we didn't get around to introductions, and today they are not there to ask. I guess last night we were all stunned that a family's whole history, present and future could be changed forever at just the blink of an eye. The brother who came with us to deliver the children to the morgue seemed to be struggling to make himself understand the finality of it all. poof three children whisked away in the night.
Sincerely, this horrible accident was and is just awful. I guess I thought it might make me feel better to write about it, though my own experience is nothing compared to what I imagine that poor mama is going through. Please say a little extra prayer for Life in Africa's neighbor landlady mama and her family if you can today - they are going to need all the positive vibes they can get in making it through this.
Edited: 5 years ago
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We're really doing it! Tickets to Thailand for Norbert and I are in hand!
A couple of people have asked for our itinerary - here it is:
We 06 Feb : Entebbe-Addis : ET810 : dep 1825 arr 2025
Su 10 Feb : Addis-Bangkok(BKK) : ET606 : dep 0025 arr 1320
Mo 11 Feb : Bangkok(DMK)-Ubon : TG1030 : dep 1630 arr 1735
Fr 07 Mar : Ubon-Bangkok(DMK) : TG1031 : dep 1815 arr 1920
Sa 08 Mar : Bangkok (BKK)-Addis : ET607 : dep 0140 arr 0635
Tu 11 Mar : Addis-Entebbe : ET811 : dep 1130 arr 1330
Linda, we are very excited to spend some time with you and your students, to reside at an Asoke community for 2 weeks and to explore a bit more of Thailand while we are there.
Gayle, any chance of a hop up to Thailand from down under while we are there? (AND/or shall we drag you to Salt Spring Island in May??)
John, will you be anywhere in the neighborhood?
Soooo excited to actually be - finally - making this happen!
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Many, many changes.
But deep down inside,
I remain who I am meant to be,
With the sight to see sea changes,
Even while C changes.
For quite a long time now, I have been seriously thinking about a change in careers. Sooner or later, I'm going to muster the courage to start articulating some of my thoughts on future directions in my intellectual and professional life. My intention is to do that here.