My Heart’s in the DRC

I have about 800 things which I want to blog about. They just keep running through my head. So that means that tonight, while I make taco soup and wait for 10:30 to come around to pick up the husband, I will be blogging and saving and getting my thoughts down. 

But, for now, I want to talk about my heart. Not my literal heart in that the thing which keeps me alive (although I’m quite grateful for it). I mean my heart in the sense of what I followed onto this career path, what I listen to if I’m making good decisions, that heart. 

In August of 2007, I read an article that has literally changed my life. It’s by Eve Ensler and it’s about rape in the DRC. It was published in Glamour, and I tore it out and kept it folded in my wish box for a long time.
From Amy’s Picasa Album. Link at bottom

The second I read that article I believed without a shadow of a doubt that one day I would go to the DRC and work in that hospital or with another group and work with these women whose lives have been shattered by rape. By rape in a way which we can’t fathom and don’t want to. These women are amazing, and I want to know their stories.

I told my husband (who was my boyfriend, at the time) about this. He was not pleased. And still isn’t. My husband wants me to have nothing to do with the DRC. He says this out of a his concern for my safety, not because he doesn’t want me to follow my heart (we moved to Nebraska for goodness sake’s. He’s all about me following my dreams.) And I believe him. But I just can’t turn it off. 
Recently, I started reading a blog called The King Effect. And, it’s amazing. It’s a woman who decided to move to the DRC to do something about what was going on. 
And I want to be her.

I’m looking into Fulbrights. As a graduate students certain parts of the world are more open to me than undergrads. I’m going to the DRC one day to work with these amazing people. I promise. 

Photos of her time in the DRC can be seen here: https://picasaweb.google.com/amy.ernst114
  • zaneIranee

    Nicole, I just went to an event honoring the work of Zainab Salbi whose organization empowers women in war-torn countries. She does a lot of great work in DRC: her organization is called Women for Women, International: http://www.womenforwomen.org/ During her speech, she said if she had one year to live, she would live in DRC. The women's stories are powerful and amazing and brought me to tears several times.

  • zaneIranee

    This is Manijeh, btw. 🙂

  • Nicole

    I love it! I've heard of the org and am just scheming ways to join and go over. There's just so much I want to do. 🙂

    And welcome to my blog!

  • Camie

    I admire your desire to serve, and yet I feel terrified at the thought.

    This I know: vicarious trauma is real. I would want you to be certain you could be emotionally safe, as well as physically safe, while you're there.

    There, I said it. Now I'm all done being maternal.

  • Nicole

    It is very very real. I know that. And I know that I'm not quite ready to go. But I also know (hope) that I have many years ahead of me and at some point in that time, I want to go.

    Thank you for caring, Camie <3