Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Kut Event - 2 October

After probably our shortest float ever, we conducted an event for local stakeholders at our camp by the river in Kut.  Staff from our southern office came up to address the crowd.

J addressing the crowd

We had alot of press come up and conducted a number of interviews ...

 But our focus is on tomorrow when we finally get to spend some quality time on the River.  We have a promise from the manager of the Kut Barrage to let us go through the navigational lock, so we went down to take a look at it.

Downstream side of the Kut Barrage (built by the British in the 1930s)

We only have to get past this boom to enter into the lock

But before we start there must be numerous discussions. Our friends and supporters need to worry over all the little details of our trip.  The fact that we are camping requires endless explanations and quizzical looks. We've had to tell our logistics staff several times that, "Yes, camping means sleeping."

One of our planning meetings.

Mostly we've been discouraged from camping.  Partially, it is townies who can't contemplate the idea of not staying in a proper house or hotel room every night. One argument I heard was that people we met along the way might not understand what we were trying to do and think we were spies or something. 

"Some spies we'd make!" I told a team mate later, "we are more of a circus on the river."

At one point, we were told that if we were floating out of Kut and camping along the river, we would be camping on farmers lands but the farmers would not agree to this.  Such an argument brought quizzical looks to our own faces. 

In fact, anyone who has been in the Middle East for any length of time knows the famous hospitality of the people here.  More likely than not we would be brought dinner and certainly copious amounts of sugary tea the moment we showed up.  But we know that such arguments are the smoke screen through which people here express their concerns.

We've told them we'll just float out one day and see but we think once we are out on the river and away from people who are second-guessing all our plans, these decisions will become a bit easier.

Regardless, tomorrow morning we are off and if everything does go according to our plan, I might not be able to post for a few days. Wish us luck!


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