by KareMeKuc co-founder Max Clary

Wow! I am exhausted! Since I wrote you last a couple interesting things have happened. Yesterday (Sunday 6/5) We mainly hung out and got to know the other group of students from Wisconsin. They are nice people. We haven’t really connected beyond a superficial level so I don’t have much to  tell you beyond there is two girls and one boy. They all just graduated and most of them are headed to medical school. They are here through a club at their school called Globe Med which supports various organizations doing good work all over the world. Yesterday we did a crazy workout with one of the girls lead who is a fitness instructor or something. It destroyed me. I am actually having a hard time walking it was so intense on my legs. I think I will have to stay away from the work outs. I am not getting nearly enough food to sustain how much I sweat everyday just sitting around little alone the energy I expend working out. Not being able to regularly work out will be a difficult task for me. I think I will have to do Yoga which does not require a gym to continue to balance mind, body, spirit.

On another note, yesterday it looked like it was going to rain with big heavy clouds in the sky but it ended up just having heat lightening and as a result it was unbearably hot. I have not slept with even a sheet on me since my arrival but last night was terrible. I woke up drenched in sweat and could not sleep but did not want to get out of mosquito net and get bitten either so I felt pretty trapped. Eventually, I was so uncomfortable I forced myself to get up and I stood under the cold shower for almost half an hour until I felt okay and eventually I feel back asleep to just wake up again in the middle of the night dying of thirst. So, needless to say last night was pretty rough. I think back to my days of backpacking and the intense and miserable conditions I faced all while constantly hungry. Life is different here, life is hard here and I must remember the tool I know all too well: pain is temporary and this experience will only add to the gratitude I have for my life back home as well as all pushing me forward to help these people that experience so much pain.  On the bright side, I am becoming quite popular in town. Last night, as I was waiting for my bread for dinner I sat down next to a group of guys hanging out by the town bar and introduced myself. We all ended up talking late into the night and they gave me their phone number and told me I am the coolest American they have met and I have a good heart. They said if I ever need anything they will help me and that we will hang out often while I am in town. Turns out these guys are very popular in the town so when I was walking around today (along with my hacky sacking fame) everyone seemed to know me and was saying hello. It is nice to make friends here but I think no matter where you go but here especially it is difficult to engage in the deep and vulnerable conservations about life that fill me. So, it has been very tough for me to not have people to truly and deeply share myself with. It may be strange to some of you but deeper interactions are what fill me up, the superficial interactions are nice but mainly exhaust me. I will keep on keeping on and continue to share myself hopefully with enough time some of my friends will join me. I think I will start writing poetry again it helped me a lot when I was in high school and many people also didn’t understand what I was saying when I spoke of the power of vulnerability and the struggle that is in every life on earth.

Today has been a good mixture of relaxing and informational. Today was our first real introduction to all of the programs Children of Peace does and it was quite exhaustive. Ranging from the Psycho-social support of peace clubs and community dialogs to the vocational training in farming, bee hive maintenance and honey production, fish farming and lastly, all the 105 school children they are currently supporting through school. It was interesting to watch the organization which has 7 staff members interact. It all moved very slowly. It was frustrating at first but I reminded myself of the power of patience and being meaningful with your words and that helped slow me down. It also made me more aware of how fast I speak when I talk to others. I must work on training myself to speak slower and more meaningfully. Hahahaha however, to add on to their slowness they are were also a little disorganized and repeated things and it took a long time for us to decide on any action. I think this stemmed out of the fact that Jane was not there. Because there was not a clear leader it was important that everyone felt heard but that process took a long time. I realize that is a tricky balance in being a leader of this project with Seren and Nellie. I have a lot to work on the balance between the efficiency of decision making and also listening and making my team feel heard.  After we reviewed what CPU does and we made a plan for this week. This week we will mainly be visiting homes of former child soldiers who live in far away and isolated villages and are often the head of their house hold. It should be pretty intense but it will be good to start building relationship with these kids. I hope after some weeks of visiting them we will be able to get a little closer. I wonder if they have thoughts like I do from trauma or if they are completely different or on what levels they are similar. I wonder if I will ever actually find out.

Lastly, I want to speak about the selflessness I have observed in some of the people here. Many of Jane’s staff are completely volunteers and I have realized with the more people I have met, many of them want so bad to rebuild their country and help people that they work in peace building NGOs for no pay. Today I sat and talked with my friend Isaac for an hour who is also an Orphan although he is now around 25. He was telling me he has a child who is 1 but he has also taken in a 5 year old orphan boy and helps him attend school. This man has very little and works very hard to support his own child and he still took in a boy he had met at the funeral service for the boy’s mother. The heart in these people are incredible. I wish I could speak lango fluently so I communicate better with them and really understand what goes on in their minds.

Okay, It is starting to get dark here so I must head home soon. I miss and love many of you. I am not without struggle here but I am doing just fine and I will continue to face this world with an open heart and look for growth in all the nooks and crannies life has to offer.

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