coming home, picking up, retracing steps, and putting it all down and out there

Ok.  When last I left off, I was still in Point Noire (first visit) and we had yet to leave for the 'Big Rainforest Adventure' (quotation marks for a reason, read on), and our friends had started to sing.  As I rushed out of the internet cafe, I thought I had posted the video of that singing.  But I hadn't.  So here it is now:

[In this video: Alain's hands, Mise's voice, Wilfred singing, and the rest of the team: Aaron, Jeanne, Kate, Nicole, Mr. Bienvenue, Raoul, Jean Leopold.  Driving through the streets of Pointe Noire]

Gosh - that was ages ago.

As you've probably reaslised by now I'm home.  I'm alive and well, and I've been home for some time now - over two weeks.*  Therefore, it is also readily apparent that I have been procrastinating.  Indeed.  Procrastinating, avoiding, commencing and abandoning - all that sort of thing. Basically, not updating my blog.

"But for why?" I hear you cry (and I don't know why you're using that antiquated linguistic style, but you are).  Well, for many reasons I suppose.

Of course, naturally, there is the classic 'how was your holiday? / oh where do I start' conundrum - particularly seeing as I was so unable to keep anything of this blog up to date whilst in Congo.  It seemed such an inordinately long period to recall and recap that I just didn't want to have to swallow that particularly large mouthful of condensed time and then regurgitate it all back up again as some kind of cheery splurge of a blog.  However, that's barely an excuse.  When you're overflowing with positivity and enthusiasm for said hypothectical holiday, you just plough right on in and shove your photos or your flickr account in someone's face and race around all over the shop telling tales and getting in a tangle about what happened when but it was all so fabulous that it just doesn't matter. 

For me, Congo wasn't all 'and then we..., and it was amazing...., oh and that was the first night, no the second night, or was it the first anyway it was brilliant'.  Actually, Congo was really really hard.  It was amazing (or at least it often amazed me), it was a once in a lifetime experience, I did see things that people don't often get to see, and it did teach me things.  But... I didn't love it, I was often very very bored, I was often very frustrated, I missed my home and my friends and London (and weirdly, museums?!) A LOT, and ultimately I found the philosophical challenges of being in such an extremely different culture very troubling.  I would also say that I came home with less hope than I went with, which is a difficult thing to deal with, especially if you're me.  It's difficult to deal with, it's difficult to articulate and it's difficult to want to share.  It feels like a failure to answer people's anticipation of my 'fantastic trip' with a whole mess of unresolved anthropological, sociological thought processes.  But there you go.  I promised myself I would be honest with this blog, and so I am.  I feel a bit better now.  It's always good to write things down.

coming home, picking up, retracing steps, and putting it all down and out there
[notes for this very blog post]

And so, let me recommence with something positive and reaffirmative - and I'll get down to the nitty gritty of social consciousness in the next few days - whilst also sharing some film and photos and a lot of things that actually were quite wonderful.

One of the things that most struck me, both whilst I was out in Congo, and even more so since I've been home, is the absolute luxury that we have here regards access to information.  And how - even more than ever -  I feel absolutely compelled to make informed choices because I CAN.  That's an enourmous gift!  I absolutely do not have an excuse to ignore climate change, or the effects of monocultural farming, or the opportunity to grow my own food.  Because I know about these things, I can investigate these things and I can make balanced decisions about these things.  Books, the internet, magazines - these are not easy to find or afford in many places in the world, and they are so so vital.  We need to cherish and celebrate our steady stream of data!  Revel in it!  It is not for taking for granted.

And finally, getting back to the purposes of being in Congo (to document a theatre project) here is a little teaser for what is to come from a selection of photos by my treasured friend and colleague Kate Sutton-Johnson (featuring my other treasured friends and colleagues from the Congo team!):

I just watched a video that really moved me and in it, the voiceover says: "Wake up! Because nothing comes to the sleeper but a dream".  Somehow this resonates with what I was saying earlier, and - more because I don't want to lose the video and because I think it deserves to be seen, here it is:

Attica Is All Of Us from Freedom Archives on Vimeo.




*(If you didn't realise I was home and were using this blog as a guide to my wellbeing, then - apologies.  I have slacked.)