i’ve been grumbling and murmuring under my breath. but have decided over the past few weeks that this is not the way to be an ill-behaved woman. it is not the way to be a faithful follower of jesus. and it is not the way to get things done at this particular moment.

so now i’m going to grumble louder. and i’m starting here because it seems a good place to start.

i don’t like to be told “no.” never really have. but over at least the past two(ish) years it hasn’t been the being told “no” part that has bothered me so much, but the fact that a lot of the “no” isn’t really to ME but to the people i work beside. the people i live with. love. eat with. mourn with. laugh with. celebrate with. share life with.

this kind of “no” isn’t a “no” that i have experienced before. at least not personally. i am an over-educated (with the debt to prove it) white woman from a middle class family who loves me and has done their best to provide the best home and education possible for.

this kind of “no” is one that is primarily based on prejudices, preconceived notions, fear and lack of creativity to think outside of the INGO and church box. for once i am simply livid on behalf of someone else. on behalf of region. a people. i’m riled up and ready to take on the world.

lets just cut to the chase: karamoja is not backward. the karimajong are not scary terrible people. nor are they stupid. and spending all of 72 hours in karamoja does not make you an expert in the place, people or their needs. i am simply SICK of people swooping into a place for a hot-minute and proceeding to tell the people what they want and what they need. ESPECIALLY when that someone is an organization that i happen to work for. an organization that is behaving more and more like a “typical” INGO and not like the relational-peacebuilding-jesus following organization i thought i signed up to work within.

my time in karamoja now totals to over two years. TWO YEARS more than any other worker (besides housemate) for this organization has ever had in the region and yet somehow what i have to say–what i have learned–what i have heard the PEOPLE say doesn’t seem to factor into the “way forward” of the relationship of the org and those we have partnered with.

no, what i do isn’t easily reportable with results based management. its difficult to give numbers when a lot of what i do is provide support through the ministry of presence and the building up of relationships and trust between the church and church founded schools and the church and her clergy.

there aren’t numbers for that.
and i’m glad.
because i hate your paper work.
i hate results based management.
and i hate feeling like a failure because i can’t fill out your stupid paperwork with numbers. because, when it comes to relationships and living a faithful life as a christ-follower then there probably aren’t numbers to report. and there aren’t tidy answers that fit on your tidy forms. when it comes to relationships and truly building up what the kingdom of god is supposed to look like and act like its messy.

its messy. and the numbers, if there were any to report, would probably suck.
yes, suck.

i’m sorry that my project isn’t “sexy” enough to garner a heap of international pull. i’m sorry that my kids in my schools aren’t hungry enough/downtrodden enough/repressed enough (which is funny, because they are so overlooked!) for funding or a second thought. i’m sorry that i don’t give you pictures of starving children or other poverty-porn to whet the check writing palate.

funnily enough, i’ve just been trying to do what i thought you asked me to do: be faithful. be with. be. i’m sorry that i seem to have misunderstood that its all about numbers.

but you know what i’m not sorry about? i’m not sorry that i am about to raise a ruckus until something happens. i will not abandon this post without the knowledge that someone is going come and fill it until “the local person” we want to fill it is able to. i’m not sorry that i’m probably going to burn some bridges and be considered rude or inappropriate.

i’m not sorry. because we made a promise.
we made a promise in front of the god we serve, and we made a promise to these people. and i’ll be damned if i don’t keep my promise.



One thought on “grumble

  1. those who need to hear this probably won’t read your blog, Thera. I feel terrible that MCC isn’t listening or keeping its promises. MCC has grievance procedures and you can try to use those. In hindsight, i think Dale and I proposed too many ideas for work in Karamoja and didn’t prioritize them clearly enough…the vacuum in leadership at Rep level has allowed administrators with a very different vision to impose their will without sufficient understanding of MCC’s history in Karamoja. I grieve with you and I’m glad you’re not staying quiet about it. Don’t worry about burning bridges….Jesus burned a few as well! LOVE YOU

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