Gulu

This weekend I was in Gulu for a traditional wedding.  The ceremony reminded me of the sentiments of a researcher who once said that “there is no point to look back if it does not help to dream a better future” (Watkins & Shulman, 2008)).  Through the atrocities committed by the LRA, Gulu has become somewhat the focal point of a lot of relief organizations and charitable giving.  The campaign Kony 2012 brought additional attention to Northern Uganda, and inspired an influx of westerners to descend upon this little town and offer prayer circles, knitting for peace groups etc.  While all initiatives are accompanied by the best intentions, I wonder,  if as outsiders, we are not undervaluing the Acholi’s native mechanisms to overcome trauma.  I support that “today’s more critical psychology remind us of the inherent fluidity of people, and their inherent capacity to position themselves to overcome situational constraints ( Carr & Sloan, 2003).  The wedding itself, was a celebration and a collective and transformative agreement by the community  to look toward the future instead of to the past. The Acholi wedding ceremony itself centered around dancing in circles around the bridal party and pronouncing blessings.  The pivotal moment arrived when the groom had to find his bride hidden amongst her army of bridesmaids.  When he discovered her, the vows were read, and the party officially began.

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