Read this story this week. From a very interesting 1969 Peace Corps Memoir. I think it still sums up the attitude, comprehension, and interest the rural villages often have toward their countries politics.
“The Ecuadorian government, a military junta, fell one day with riots, shooting, and mobs of determined students marching in the streets of the main towns. (The government fell because of these student demonstrations, and the students were furious because they weren’t allowed to run things.) That day I was helping Ramon and Ester split strips of bamboo for a new chicken house about a hundred feet from the ocean in the shade of a large ebony tree. Ramon had his radio outside, and we listened to the birth pangs of the new regime—the patriotic speeches and screeches, and the sound of martial music. But after a while he turned it off. It didn’t seem to have much do with Rio Verde. “Well,” Ramon said, “the old gang made its millions; now a new gang wants to rob us. You know, it will be the same for us whoever wins. We are completely forgotten here in Rio Verde.” (Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle. Moritz Thomsen)
Would you believe that eight months after the March 21, 2012, coup d’état in Mali (The governemnt ousted by the military, and 50% of the countried occupied by armed groups in the north.) I was working in villages where the whole population did not have knowledge about their president being ousted by the military coup d’état, nor the armed rebel situation in the north.
Just a new group in power, who change little about their daily struggle to survive. Who would waste batteries on news, when you can have music?
Unfortunately, it was not the same for villages in the north. I am certain many villages kept their heads down, uninvolved, hoping they would be unaffected. But the reality entered their villages with a gun. Hundreds of thousands were displaced, fleeing the guns and human brutality.
Thankfully, I was not in the north like others I know. Years of work gone up in smoke as they run.
However, not all is lost, they left behind friends for a lifetime. When the smoke settles (literally), and the hugh risk of abduction curtails, some will again return for the long haul. This though makes me happy.
We have sixty irrigation kits sitting in storage for that day. Just east of Mopti is one of the hardest hit regions for hunger right now. A good friends whole family, twenty eight villages, were flooded out in freak floods in 2012 also. A tragedy as their crops, many animals, and little food they had stored until harvest, was lost.
We hope to have a work there some day. It’s on hold until sanity returns to the north. I shiny plump westerner like me, better not go too far north right now.