A new page in my life has been turned, and it never seems to get easier. Although my graduation will take place in summer 2015, my time in Cardiff is over. From my previous post you know how hard it has been to leave that homey and utterly sweet place.
I am writing to you all now from Brazzaville, Congo. Another home of mine, and a very different one indeed. For the past year or so now my parents have been living here in our sweet Africa, and let me tell you it is marvellous! Although it is technically winter here for them (which means a minimum of 21 degrees celsius, and I am not kidding) the weather is beautiful. Beautiful enough for me to get my tan on every day!
I am not writing to you tonight to make you jealous, but to share with you a sincere thought. I have already shared with you my belief that what is essential is for you to move away from university having truly learned somethings, and more than just words out of text books. What you learn becomes part of you, and part of your observations in life.
One of my favourite lectures this year was one entitled “Conflict, Security & Development studies”, fascinating stuff! You come to realise though that you only have time to learn the basics in class and that there are endless amounts of journals, articles and books on this very subject (and that’s what the readings are for!). More importantly, you learn about the consequences of natural disasters, of rebellions, of conflicts between tribes, of corruption and terroristic police forces, and above all humanitarian aid and NGO’s.
The very idea of these associations and foundations are in nature purely good. Most of us want to help in some way or another whenever we watch documentaries or read about such and such place that is degrading and falling deeply into mass poverty. A lot of us do, by donating to such and such association. Trusting those whom are the intermediaries with our money, and not thinking twice on what happens after. Without going into too much detail in the theoretical side of things (although, if you are interested in all this Politics is definitely an area of study you should look up in for your future studies!) I would like to share with you what my studies at Cardiff have provided me with.
After trying for months in finding work as a volunteer in big NGO groups here in Brazzaville, the big picture in the end was that they had no more free space for me. Which shocked me at first, how could there ever be “enough”help? After coming here last summer, it took me a few weeks to find small local orphanages, all supposedly dependent on donations. No words could describe to you the state in which these orphanages are in. Let me give you an image: opening up a big steel door, with the words “Orphelinat de Jesus” painted by the children at the front, and walking into a sandy and unshaded court yard to find dozens and dozens of children running towards you trying to hold your hand and many calling out “Mama, mama!”. All ageing from 2 to 15 years of age. Much more than just material things, just by spending a few hours a day with these children fills up their hearts with love and hope, because that is all they are really looking for. They live as such, by the dozens, in a space of about 3 rooms, each consisting of 3 bunk beds. Many without matrices. Many without loving arms to hold them tight at night. Why isn’t our aid reaching them? Why are there millions of people in this world living like this? Children are being left behind because of poverty, and finding themselves in such situations, or far far worse ones, is something that happens on the daily.
Thanks to what I have learned, when I look at these heart grabbing scenes, so many thoughts and observations are being made in my head. All the possible reasons for which this has happened; and what could be done right now to solve it, in terms of policy change, volunteering, real on-the-ground charity work. All racing through my head. Which is why, although a lot of sadness comes out of my visits, a lot of hope is also placed in me for when I graduate. The more I learn, and the more I see, the more I am certain of what I want to do with my degree, and more importantly for our world!
I do not want this post to make you feel unsettled or sad, but more ambitious for your future, and for your studies. Here are some photos I took for you guys during my visit yesterday! I hope their smiles will lighten up your day!
Speak to all you beautiful people sooooon! Enjoy this life and enjoy the SUN!