Footnotes from the British Underground

This blog began as venue for my stories as I traveled in Africa. 18 months later, I return to it as I travel to study as a Marshall Scholar in the United Kingdom. My hope is that this blog can be a conduit for you - my family, friends and secret/strange admirers - to track my movements, see a photo or two and get a glimpse of my days in the UK. Apologies once again to Dostoevsky for the blog's name...

My Photo
Location: Bradford, United Kingdom

After graduating from Notre Dame, I'm off to England for graduate study. I'll be studying for a M.A. in International Politics and Security Studies. When not studying, I'm continuing to coordinate Uganda-CAN's efforts to end the 20-year war in northern Uganda!


About the Author - A Break from the Political Madness to Look at the Personal Madness

Some people have been writing me telling me they want less political journalism in my writings and more about how I am faring personally in the pearl of the continent. To me, that is quite boring, but I will appease them with a bit of personal jibberjabber here for a moment.

So, I am well. Or as well as can be. Truth be told, I find myself now torn in the midst of a land of contradictions and seeming paradoxes. On the one hand, I am depressed. I am still haunted by what I saw in the North, which totally overwhelmed me. I am still disgusted by the mismanagement, repression and corruption of the state her. I am still outraged at the slums, the poverty, the disease that run rampant throughout this place. I am still shocked that the international community can be silent and even complicit in systematic crimes. When you amass that all together, it poses a bleak picture, highlighting the worst of humanity.

Yet, while I despair, I also enjoy. I am enjoying myself immensely. I love this land and I love the people, who are funny, friendly and passionate. I still cannot help but smile when I begin to descend down the steps into old taxi park, the center of all madness. I love the fruits, I love my homestay family, I love what I am studying. Every morning, I want to get out of bed and see what this day will bring. And the whole experience is empowering, it accentuates for me how much power we hold as small individuals to learn, to criticize, to work for change in hopeless situations.

Maybe the best word for my current feeling is wonder. Last weekend, I was sitting on the banks of the Nile River, eating an avocado, peanut butter, cheese and tomato sandwich, and just thinking about the enormity of the world. Every night when I walk to my home, I look out on the African sky, and the stars always strike a chord of awe. When I stop and think, I realize how small and insignificant we are in world of such complexity, diversity and enormity. It's awesome, really.

So I am well or as well as one can be in a troubled world where kids are being abducted, raped and killed just 100 miles north of you. And I am loving living here, though it is very difficult and trying day by day. Such tension really. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote of "creative tension" that he believed brings about real change and growth. So maybe I am growing or even changing.

Nadia Stekfo, my dear friend now rabble-rousing in Washington D.C. said it best in an email to me: "It's a strange, strange world." And it truly is. That's about all I want to say definitely at this moment.


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