I am working from home, trying to collect my courage and prepare for my trip to the DRC next week. If the Fed Ex truck delivers my passport with my Visa to the DRC, there is nothing in the way of travel. If they don’t come, maybe I can’t go. I am relieved when I see the truck because this is my work and I worked hard to schedule the trip. I am relieved when the truck doesn’t stop because I am frankly frightened of the DRC. Check wikipedia to learn more about the Eastern DRC. I won’t list its problems here. Suffice to say this is not a usual tourist destination and fighting is ongoing. I am conducting an evaluation of Women for Women International’s direct cash transfers to women survivors of war.
Of course, people come in and of the DRC every day. Ben Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative. Journalists, WfWI staff, the occasional backpacker, development workers and I am sure many shady characters too. But I don’t have their budgets, crews, or connections (or lack of connections).
I’ve told colleagues, I am not afraid to ‘meet my maker’. I think we could have a great chat when the time is right. I’ve worked hard to be who I am. My maker knows that. I make tough choices and frequently take the more challenging path because it is the right one. My maker knows this. My husband knows this. My parents and my children know this. My best friends know this. Still, despite a pretty clear conscience, I am by no means ready to meet this maker. Call me melodramatic. Go ahead. But, one has to think of these things before flying into war zones, even if it is melodramatic. Let’s face it, I come from an extended family that lives 60 miles South of Boston and many of my relatives think Boston is too far to travel too. So my trepidation about the DRC is driven by genetics and wikipedia, oh and the BBC, Washington Post, Aljazeera News, NY Times, Christian Science Monitor, Irin news … oh and the big thing, the fact that I love, absolutely love, adore being a mother to Alexandra and Theodore. I am simply not ready for my drive for social justice and rigorous evidence to end my days of parenting. So stay or go? Go or stay? The FedEx truck is playing with me.