“The Earth is round, we shall meet.” This was one of Roy Kazanda’s favorite lines. Roy worked for FORGE as our PM Assistant (AKA: right hand man, savior, translator, bike mechanic, veterinarian, chef, etc.) and he was also our neighbor and a great friend. He repatriated to Angola in April, to live in a country without stipulation to his movement, employment or education.
Two hours after Michael Jackson died, we knew. Globalization and interdependency may not play as visible a role in Meheba on a macro level as it would in other more glamorous parts of the world, but there are plenty of indications that even in this isolated place, we are closer to each other and to the rest of the world than even eight months ago. That was when cell phone reception came to the settlement, we all (international staff and refugees) now speak to our families and friends in our home countries all over the world with a regularity that we never had and its assurance not only brings us closer to the familiar relationships from our past, but links our privilege with the experience of the refugees who never had this kind of access to knowledge, or dare I say power, in their country of asylum.
Every time we demolish the invisible barriers that break the continuity of our existence, I am reminded of the reciprocal and spherical shape that our lives can take. Or so I tell myself. The inevitability of leaving a place that in all likelihood you will never return to is heartbreaking. The concept is amorphous, yet terminal, simple and terrifying. Until I discover small but remarkable symbols of the modernity that is redeeming an otherwise impenetrable fear of finality.
Our FEF-U students in Lusaka are on facebook after all.