Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Sound of Silence

You may have noticed something over the last two months, or rather the lack of something. A blog post. First of all, just a reminder about my current location. I am living in town now, with power for my computer, and an internet café very close. So why no post? If anything I should be posting more.

There are a number of excuses I could give, all of them at least a little bit valid. I’ve been really busy since coming back, trying to get caught up on all I missed while I was at home, trying to do some background learning and research and getting started on the projects I want to do this year. I’ve also been on the road a fair amount, throughout Luapula province visiting some of our field offices (although I haven’t made it back to Milenge yet!), and also all the way down to Livingstone to see the falls, out to Churundu (a town on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe) for our EWB quarterly meeting, and to Lusaka to welcome the new group of volunteers that just arrived.

However it hasn’t been lack of time that has kept me silent. I have sat down numerous times to start writing a post, only to find myself unsatisfied with my words. At times I find them to be a very poor representation of what I actually see, of the people I actually talk to. Other times I reread what I have written only to find it trite, and worn out, merely a rearrangement of what has already been said. It is as if it’s written more because it is expected, than because it is what I actually wanted to say. That is something I’m not happy with. So post after post sits unfinished, some pages long, some only a few sentences typed out in a word document.

I think this might be a product of me still not feeling settled back into life here. I’ve still not found a place to live, and with all the travel I have been doing, I don’t feel like I’ve found my “groove” in Mansa yet. I’m fine with this, I know it will come with time, but it’s making it hard to find time and space for self reflection and time to process what I see and the conversations I have.

I’ve decided that I need to spend some time thinking about what the original goals were that I had for my blog, and to see if I’m still (or ever was) meeting those goals. I figured since you, friends, family, and people I don’t even know, are the ones reading, you should be aware of these goals, since you can give me the best feedback as to how well you think I’m accomplishing them. So here they are, bearing in mind that I’ve never actually articulated them before, they were just thoughts in my head until this moment.

I want to use this blog to:

  1. Keep you up to date on what is happening with my project and life while I’m in Zambia
  2. Introduce you to some of the people I meet and interact with while I’m here, from my friends and neighbours, to my colleagues, to other EWB volunteers, to random people I meet on the street, on the bus, or in the market
  3. Give you a bit of insight into the complexity of “development”, and to share some of my successes and frustrations
  4. Put a “face” on all of the statistics about poverty and Africa, and hopefully debunk a few myths as well
  5. Give me a chance to articulate some of my thoughts, give you insight into these thoughts as I form them, and to share with you how my time here is affecting and changing me

I guess those are the broad goals I have. If you have any thoughts on whether you think I’m meeting these goals, or whether I should have different/more goals, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to email me ( if you’d rather not leave a comment.

Anyway, I’m sorry for the long delay without a post, and I promise you, I’m working to get back on track with my posting. I’ve got an easy one coming up soon about how I spent Easter (would you believe that a 25 lbs turkey is involved?), so look for that in the next week or so. Thanks in advance for your comments and feedback.


Dayna said...

Trevor, I think you've most certainly met all your goals with this blog; it's more than just a relation of the racts of your life in Africa: you give insights and such personal information that reading your blog almost feels like experiencing what you're talking about. I'd say, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Curtis' and Mich's Dad here. Trevor You have met your goals and bring such insight and pleasure to me everytime you post. Thanks so much

Sue Titcombe said...

Hey Trevor,

I also agree that you're meeting your goals and then some. I especially like goals 2 & 3 and the posts where you're focused more on them. Your posts about water have been challenging to me and are causing me to re-think the ways I do some things around the house. I also like hearing the personal stories of the people you meet (Memory sticks in my memory - ha!). It's easy to think of Africa as a far away place with problems we can't imagine. It's harder not to do anything about when we're hearing about the people these problems are affecting.

Keep safe and keep writing when you can.

Chad Hamre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad Hamre said...

Trevor Trevor Trevor. Nice little list of goals. however you forgot a central one.

Goal 0. Get more hits than Chad's blog.

Well i officially concede, you succeed.

But now I plea, I beg and I DEMAND that you keep writing. Looking forward to your next post buddy.

Take Care.

- Chad