`Kidogo kidogo` Swahili dilinde `Azar azar` demek…
`Pole pole` ise ` Yavas yavas`…
Afrika`da hayatin ozeti bu: kidogo kidogo, pole pole…
Ilea –fotograftaki- adinda bir arkadasim iki yil once Amerika`dan Uganda`ya kucuk yasta tecavuze ugrayip hayat kadini olmus, anne olmus, okuldan ayrilmak zorunda kalip cocuguna bakmak icin sokaklarda kendini satan kiz cocuklarina hem egitim, hem bir ev, hem de hukuki yardim etme amacli bir hayir kurumunu kurmak icin geldi. Aradan koskoca iki yil gecti,Afrika`nin `kidogo kidogo` ve `pole pole`leri canindan bezdirse de su an 30 kizi sokaklardan kurtardilar. Yaslari 9 ile 21 arasinda degisen 30 kiz… Dertlerini, sabirsizliklarini da http://kidogokidogo.blogspot.com adresli blogunda paylasti.
Izniyle bir hikayesini paylasiyorum sizinle…
Kuzeydeki kamplarda yasayan bir Ugandalinin gozuyle hayat…
`My name is Lanyero. I am a young man. Newly married, eager to care for my new bride and start a family of my own. The dirt I stand on has been faithful to my father and to my father’s father, and to my grandfather’s father. This soil has given me life, it has birthed the materials for my home, and it has covered my dead. I grew up playing in this mud with my closest friends. They have always been by my side.
The brother I follow knows my deepest desires, my most intimate fears, my most secret secrets. He sees my strengths more clearly than I ever will. I cannot imagine life without him. Father has raised me here in Acholi land, with my brothers and sisters. Teaching us how to dig, teaching us how to care for the soil. Helping us to understand the complexities of the nature that sustains our livelihood. If we pay attention and follow in his footsteps we won’t ever be hungry. Father and Mother work tirelessly, from them I learn devotion.
The land is faithful. Our families will always be provided for. Acholi Land has never been better. Our schools are among the best in the country. We are flourishing as a people. We are strong and we are dignified.
My bride is young and the two of us hardly know each other. Yet I feel so much for her that there is an actual physical ache in my chest when I think of her. At the site of her my heart might actually stop. At her scent my desire grows so intense I can’t see straight. How is it possible to feel so strongly yet have no idea how to describe this feeling?
There are rumors of a rebellion in the south…Our village is warm and peaceful. All is as it should be. I’ve witnessed a lot over the years. Father has told me countless stories of the first white men in our land. They have divided our tribes and families. But we are a strong people. We have persevered as they have attempted to take our land and change our ways. This land will yet feed me and my clan, just as it always has.
What is this word the white man uses? Poverty? Poor? He says it over and over, yet I’m not sure what he is getting at and why he is so insistent on changing us. It’s as if he thinks something is wrong with our people.
My clan elders are old and wise. From them I learn of the strength and history of our people.It is the early 1990’s and alas I understand War’s power. Its destruction has eaten away my hopes. My friends and the brother I follow lay dead at the hand of a rebel. This rebel is one of us who says he fights for our freedom, yet his violence has instead enslaved. We can trust no one. The government soldiers and the rebels are somehow similar. I do not understand. This camp does protect us, this camp does not feed us. Our land is only a short walk away, yet even it is untouchable. It no longer cures the ache of the hunger consuming my family. The land cannot heal the pain this war has created in my deepest heart. Yet I must remain strong, I have a family to care for. What kind of man does not, can not protect his family and feed his own children?
This war has stolen our children. All that remains are the cries of their wailing mothers and the sound of their screams in our heads. What is life without children? There is no life at all, only desolate hearts aching for their return. Who will follow us? Who will carry on our traditions? Who will be left standing when we pass away? And where have they taken our children? They have been taken in the night. Most do not return, and those that do no longer have life dancing in their eyes. Instead they carry with them a darkness I cannot understand.
Our people are a people of dancing, dancing bodies, dancing hearts, dancing eyes. Our children’s bodies know how to dance, but their hearts do not. Their eyes are weary. We are a dancing people, yet we do not dance any more.
My heart is weary. I too am tired of war. I am tired of our children being taken and I am tired of our women being abused. I am tired of our men being defeated by the daily struggle to live. What kind of people will our children grow up to be? Those in the bush do not know the love of a Mother or Father. They have no respect for their elders. We are a tired people. Our men drink to forget. I cannot blame them, I too drink to forget. But I cannot forget. I fear the world has forgotten us.And now the white man is back. This time he comes with the words “aid” and “development” and “NGO” and “charity”. They dig wells for water and pits for waste, but there is never enough. They hand out food, but we are still hungry. They speak of health and sanitation, but these ideals have somehow been buried with our murdered families. They talk of education, but we left our schools in the villages long ago. The replacement schools are overcrowded and our teachers are tired. White people talk to us about a lot of things, but I fear they do not understand. All we truly want is peace. They live here in Uganda, but they do not live with us. They drive fancy cars, but they do not walk with us. They cannot understand the dignity our people once bore. They do not know how our hearts used to dance. Instead of trying to understand us, they pity us. Instead of talking with us, they talk to us. And we do not expect they ever will understand, for they do not care to ask.So they give and we take. This is how the relationship is. All we have to give them is our time. All we have to give is what is left of ourselves. But they do not have time for our time. They do not want what is left of us. They do not ask us to share what we have to offer.So they give and we take. Their intentions are good. Perhaps they think we have nothing to give back. Perhaps they simply don’t want it.I am confused by these do-gooders. They have only ever passed out goods, and we have accepted their gifts gratefully. I wonder if they know that it pains us to not work for our daily bread. They give and we take and the air is thick with a bitterness. It’s as if they resent us for receiving what they have offered. Isn’t this the system they have created for us to live in? In order to survive we had to take what they had to give.
Our dignity is still melting away. Can’t they see we are human just like them? I am clothed daily in my desperation. It is all I have known for countless years. Though I despise it, I cannot seem to escape. And now, I’ve finally seen the beautiful face of Hope. She was lost for so long. It seemed Suffering would be my only friend unto my death. But Hope is back, and she has brought Joy with her. She says Peace is on her way, and she has introduced a new friend named Grace. I do not know these friends well yet, and I’m not sure if I can fully trust them, but I welcome them with my entire being. My only wish is that they are here to stay. All I ask of my new friends is that they stay. That they stay and befriend our children. That our children may grow up knowing them. Perhaps these new friends will help our children forget Suffering and Fear. Suffering and Fear have worn us out, maybe these new friends will refresh us.My name is Lanyero. I am an old man now. If you have time I will sit and tell you my story. `