They called yesterday “Black Monday” here: 7 car bombs killed more than 32 people and wounded more than 130.
I arrived here earlier in the morning and had all the intended meetings and consultations—yesterday and today.
My original plan was to write about the use of skills gained at the security training. I scrap that (the training was very useful—used key knowledge learned) and rather will relay some of what I heard from national officials and international workers who keep going despite the man-made disaster (I just sent a note to colleagues in Rome concerning the Central Italy earthquake…)
Here are some of the voices from the conflict area:
- “Innocent civilians are again the only victims”;
- “Things were getting calmer but whether it’s a visiting dignitary or any other stupid reason, there are those spurts of incredible violence that just are devastating”;
- “Getting in and out of here is an example of “hurry and wait”…you have to be patient”;
- “After a few years here I need a change, I am leaving to join the UN mission in Afghanistan”;
- “Our country wants to completely re-engage in the international community and we will be full-fledged players—we don’t necessarily need funds, but temporary support to pull ourselves up”;
- “Our agriculture production system is completely devastated by the conflict—we used to export food and now import about 80% of our needs”;
- “There are 40,000 small projects that were funded in 2008 to stimulate agriculture—focusing on small farmers will revive the sector”;
- “Let’s not put all bets on the private sector—especially in cases of conflict like here, the public sector needs to get into investments such as to rehabilitate large irrigation and transport infrastructure”;
- “We need to quickly move a lot of support to farmers: this, more than any other action, will promote a sustainable peace in these areas”.
As I complete this blog and get ready to leave, my thoughts are with the civilians here and the heroes assisting them by showing up to work every day.