Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lokinene 'Development' Infrastructure

The word 'development' is in quotation marks because it's not always clear whether what's called 'development' really is or not. This past week I took a walk down in the valley southwest of our ridgetop home in Lokinene, Timu. What you can see pictured below are those 'developmental' advances that have come to Timu. Apart from these, everything else is made of sticks, grass, and mud. What do you think 'development' is in a third-world society? Is it a tin roof instead of grass? Is it schooling instead of ignorance? Is schooling good if the knowledge children gain is imported from the West, often irrelevant to the place and the way they grew up? Is healthcare development when it weans people off several centuries' accumulated knowledge of herbal remedies? Is a modern borehole-type well development? What about when it breaks and no one can fix it and people don't want to search for old, natural sources of water? There are no easy answers to these kinds of questions, but we need to consider them just the same.

This is the two-room school built in Lokinene in May of this year. It's a great building, designed to hold grades 1 and 2. The problem is: there are no teachers. How long will this structure sit unused because of no teachers? No one wants to come out here and teach kids of another tribe, in an area frequented by armed bandits? Another problem: this school was built in the valley, against the wishes of the local residents. The valley is forested, making it difficult to spot enemies until they are close.

This is the Lokinene health clinic built several years ago. It too is a great building with much potential. The problem is: no health care workers. Not now, never has been. Another problem: it was also built in the valley against the wishes of the residents. It lies in the heart of the valley where enemies roam unchallenged during certain times of the year. Sadly, the building is falling into a state of disrepair.

This is the Lokinene well, or borehole (pronounced as bah-ole in local Ugandan English). It too was dug in the valley (duh! You can't drill a well on top of a ridge made of sold rock! :)). It provides wonderful clean water for people in a 1-2 hour walk radius.
In the center of this picture, between the trees, up on top of the ridge, you may be able to see the pointed grass roofs of our two huts. I suppose they represent 'development', maybe of a different kind. We built on the ridge for the obvious reasons of safety and a gorgeous view, but also to be where the Ik people actually are. Oh how they pressured me to put a tin roof on my little round huts, because a tin roof somehow epitomizes 'development' in this area at this time. I resisted because I wanted a grass roof and because I want them to eventually know that the kind of development we are about is not 'tin-roof development' but 'whole-person development'. God knows we are all still needing that kind of development.


Tammy On the Go said...

thank you for this glimpse...

velma said...

good questions! great blog! come on home for a spell!!

Cassidy said...

my comment= a sigh and an amen. love you guys.