Historical Perspective

As part of my work with ResPoss, I research the political histories of the countries of central Africa. I began with the Central African Republic (CAR), recently published. For the past several weeks, I have attempted to untangle the snarled web of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Burundi.

The project is massive, but I appreciate it. The task keeps me busy long after PoP and application redrafts have lost their interest. The narratives are mired within one another, overlapping at various points in time and across a range of political levels. In some ways, it feels like exploring.

The history of these countries, though fascinating, is not always the most digestible. I find it difficult some mornings, after a few hours reading Congolese history, to walk to work and to switch my focus to improving Ghanaian primary education. The difference seems so stark; the pushy tro-tro drivers do not seem to appreciate that a self-absorbed, corrupt despot has consumed my thoughts, not their repeated marriage proposals.

And then I watched this PBS Frontline Documentary:

and my perspective shifted to one of appreciation. My experience in Ghana will not be anything like what these people experienced. The Ghanaian teasing, though annoying at times, is no machete.


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