Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away!

I've been meaning to start a blog, and perhaps even make it interesting to people who aren't me! I think that will probably be hard to do for now, but once I head to Peru, it'll be nice to have an established place where I can direct folks who want to read about me chasing monkeys. For now, I want a place where I can aggregate articles and pages that interest me ... a place where I can geek out about things I'm learning ... and whatever else occurs to me. Maybe I'll write out stories from Kenya with more details, too. Or just stories about things in general. We'll just have to see.

So here's a trail I've been following...

I watched this documentary, War Dance, earlier this year. Central and East Africa are things I'm interested in on a "I like primates" level, an "I like Swahili" level, and an "I like people" level. Plus I'm a sucker for dancing, and the trailer with the kids singing and dancing reminded me an awful lot of the girls from Wema singing Dancing Queen last summer. Uganda has a country-wide music/dance competition (this article gives a really interesting background and talks about the Ugandan constitution from 1995 and how kids acted as speakers for the government in these performances) for primary school students. This documentary follows a group of students a refugee camp in northern Uganda from the beginning of their school's practice until the actual competition.

The kids are members of an ethnic minority in Uganda, the Acholi (incidentally, the Acholi are part of the Luo ethnic group, who also live in Western Kenya. Obama's father was Luo, as is the current prime minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga. I heard all sorts of interesting anti-Luo talk in Turkana this summer, even from guys who are ODM supporters, but Kenyan politics are far too complicated for one parenthesis!). The documentary is interesting, with some strange choices (for instance, they have the little kids reenact a number of terrible things that happened to them in front of the camera, filmed in very melodramatic ways that really detracts from their incredible story. The film is predictably depressing in general context and predictably uplifting in the end, but worth seeing. The Lord's Resistance Army isn't something that gets a lot of play in the Western media's coverage of Africa, which is why my dad knew that this article, about Vertigo Comic's updated version of the Unknown Soldier, would make me so excited. Also exciting - more media coverage of northern Uganda - apparently Uma Thurman and some other people are going to be in a movie called Girl Soldier about a harrowing sequence of events, and apparently protesting the use of child soldiers.

I haven't read any of the new Unknown Soldier yet, but I hear that the trade paperback comes out soon. I plan on stopping at Star Clipper on the Loop to hear what the comic book experts have to say about how I can get these books!

OK - well, my plan was not to go on for quite so long. And I can keep going, but I need to finish packing so I can head to bed. I leave for school on Thursday!

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