Uganda | Summer 2008

EXPOSURE - Aftermath Workshop in Northern Uganda The August 2008 Exposure workshop in Northern Uganda was conducted under the guidance of Sara Terry, of the Aftermath Project, and Stephen Alvarez, of National Geographic magazine. Seven Tufts undergraduates, one EPIIC International alumna from Delhi University in India, and one graduate student from the Fletcher School spent eight days using photography to examine the brutal legacy of conflict in Northern Uganda. Students' photo essay topics ranged from the Pabbo IDP camp, the return home, the legacy of trauma, and focused stories about several different Ugandans. The students each worked with fixer-translators from a Ugandan NGO working with former child soldiers. This is the first workshop conducted under the guidance of Ms. Terry and Mr. Alvarez.

Returning Home Again: Displacement and Renewal in Northern Uganda Jeff Beers The 22-year long conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda has resulted in the displacement of well over a million Acholi people from their homes, forcing them into cramped “protected villages” where many have lived for the duration of the war. Now, with a ceasefire in place, many Acholi are returning home again, and working to restart the cycle of tradition and sustenance farming that has defined their culture for generations. However, after over twenty difficult years away, a question arises: what ‘home’ will the Acholi be returning to?

Forgiveness and Reconciliation after War Kelsey Bell The war in Uganda is notorious for its duration, often called "Africa's longest running war." By the time I learned of this war it had been going on for more than twenty years. On the day I submitted my essay detailing the history of the conflict for this workshop I had just turned twenty years old. While I was growing up, the children fighting in this war were growing up. When I was in grade school children the same age as I was were abducted from their homes and schools and given a new education in murder. During the war there had been many attempts at peace talks, both by individuals and by the government, but most failed miserably. The difference now is that the quell in fighting over that last few years has opened up dialogue on what it means to being justice and lasting peace to this region. Currently there is a large debate surrounding the extent to which raditional methods of justice and western methods of justice should be implemented (if at all) to deal with the conflict. While this discussion has yet to be concluded, many of those living in Acholiland have expressed their preference for the use of the traditional methods which emphasize truth and forgiveness to create restorative rather than retributive justice and lasting peace.

Women of Northern Uganda Nora Chovanec In an area like northern Uganda where family is the most important part of life and the decades old conflict has in large part centered around the Lord's Resistance Army's destruction of the familial unit, women are the ones who struggled to keep the family and the culture together. Women bear the brunt of domestic labor—the cooking, cleaning, washing, and tending to the home, and take on the majority of child rearing responsibilities—nurturing, shaping, and showing them what it means to be Acholi. Women also share a large portion of the economic stress, as they are the ones who spend more time tending the land, harvesting the crops, and preparing and selling goods at the market. This photo essay explores the daily lives of women in post-conflict Northern Uganda and centers upon one thirteen year old girl from the internally displaced persons camp Palenga.

The evening of our lives: Elegy for Akonyi Bedo

Sam James


Home Grown: A north Ugandan NGO offers home-grown solutions in internationally-dominated reconstruction efforts Sean Smith The Institute for Youth Empowerment Program, or IYEP, is a Gulu NGO created by northern Ugandans. In a reconstruction landscape dominated by heavily-funded international organizations, this small, local NGO finds footing by offering an intimate understanding of Acholi culture and values. From assisting in reconciliation between communities and child soldiers, to providing agricultural supplies to rebuild sustainable villages, to paying tuition fees for promising young Ugandans, IYEP offers Ugandan solutions to Ugandan challenges.

Participating Student bios

JEFF BEERS is a junior majoring in Drama from Blue Bell, PA. He has been a member of Exposure since 2006, when he participated in a workshop dealing with the gun violence problem in Philadelphia, PA. Jeff spent last semester abroad in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, on a program with Antioch College.
KELSEY BELL is a sophomore who will probably major in either American Studies or International Relations. She took Fall semester 2007 off and spent time interning at an advertising company in Boston as well as learning Spanish, surfing and doing photography in Costa Rica. She got her first professional journalism experience this past summer, writing a column for a hometown newspaper, while living in New York City for a communications internship. Currently, she reports for the features section of the Tufts Daily. Her other on campus activities include being a member of the Tufts University Swim and Dive Team, ATO of Massachusetts, and a scholar in The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. Her Tisch College scholar’s project for the current year is leading a photography and media literacy club at the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Boston's Chinatown. Kelsey has been to Africa once before, having traveled to Ghana this past winter break with the Tufts program Ghana Gold: A Corporate Social responsibility Study Tour. This summer, in addition to traveling to Uganda she will be taking classes in Talloires, France and traveling to The Republic of Georgia with Hillel.
NORA CHOVANEC is a third-year student in the combined degree program at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she majors in Women’s Studies and Fine Arts (with concentrations in photography and mixed media). Nora has been a photographer for eight years and has extensive experience with film and digital photography, in both field and studio settings. Nora has presented at multiple national conferences on the subject of art and social activism, and her work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the country. Nora is currently a Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service Scholar at Tufts University. At sixteen Nora traveled to Ukraine, worked for an orphanage and a children’s hospital, and upon returning to the U.S., showed her work in galleries, made a book of her photographs, and used her work to raise awareness on social justice issues in Ukraine. Nora has worked for a number of non-profit organizations, including the Mystic River Watershed in Arlington, MA and Groundwork Somerville in Somerville, MA. As the current artist-in residence at Groundwork, she is able to fuse art and science to empower Somerville youth. Nora works with students in grades 4–8 from the Somerville School District to design, develop, and paint community murals that focus on community gardens, healthy eating, and the farm-to-table process. Nora feels that it is crucial for the upcoming generation of artists to make their art more accessible to the general public, to have a positive impact on their surrounding communities, and to help others tap into their own creativity, no matter their age or experience level. Nora plans to spend the summer of 2008 working with the documentary photographer Sara Terry. She will assist Sara in both Los Angeles and Sierra Leone on Sara’s latest project entitled “Fambul Tok,” Creole for “Family Talk,” which is a new national initiative that addresses the need for lasting and sustainable peace in Sierra Leone.
TIM FITZSIMONS is a second year International Relations major from Connecticut. He is interested in the workings of global migration flows, and particularly the flow of undocumented labor in and out of the developing world and the Middle East. He is a member of the New Initiative for Middle East Peace (NIMEP), and a student leader of [EXPOSURE], the IGL's organization for photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights. In Uganda, he hopes to pursue a project that is both new and visually engaging. Tim recently returned from a photojournalism workshop in Kashmir, where he wrote and photographed a story about the decaying tourism industry there. He was a member of the March 2007 NIMEP research delegation to Lebanon, where he created a multimedia project about Hezbollah. Most recently, he was a student in this year’s EPIIC colloquium. This summer, before Uganda, he will be participating in the ALLIES Joint Research Project in Jordan examining spillover effects of the Iraq War with students from Tufts, West Point, and Annapolis. After that, he will be pursuing an internship at the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut.
BANI GILL is a final year student studying History at Hindu College, Delhi University (India). Her work in Gujarat post Godhra riots, 2002, has shaped her decision of working on conflict resolution and gender relations. She is deeply passionate about theatre and has traveled extensively across the country with her activist theatre group, building awareness and conducting workshops on issues of caste, class and gender. She has been actively involved in the vibrant political environment of the campus and has stood for the ‘infamous’ University elections, an experience she deems both scary and highly enriching! She is currently working with a publishing house, heading the Dramatics Society, the Debating Society and the Gender Sensitization Committee in college, and in her spare time enjoys watching films, reading, writing, basketball and engaging in long tenuous and often argumentative conversations!
SAM JAMES is a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio in the combined-degree program with Tufts and the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he studies political science and photography. He is a Synaptic Scholar of the Institute for Global Leadership, a member of the photojournalism and human rights group EXPOSURE, and a member of the EPIIC Colloquium class of 2007/2008. In 2007, his interest in the new urban order brought him to Lagos, Nigeria, where he studied the megacity. Through EXPOSURE, he worked with photographer Gary Knight and journalist Mort Rosenblum in Indian-administered Kashmir. Sam currently lives in Lagos, where he is a Student Research Fellow of the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC) and a freelance writer and photographer for The Guardian (Nigeria) newspaper. Sam enjoys Arsenal Football Club and food.
SEAN SMITH is a student at Tufts University, class of 2011. For the past decade he has lived in Bozeman, Montana, where the region’s expansive wilderness involved him in landscape photography. An interest in the politics of international conflict took Sean east, where he is now likely majoring in International Relations and continuing to pursue photography.