So where are we?

my blogging has been a bit rubbish recently and i appolgise for this. I”m not sure why this is but i’ve found the past month incredibly hard. I knew it would be tricky to settle back into normal life after returning from the Congo, but never envisaged anything like this. My body and mind feel completely all over the place. keep jumping from happiness to feeling quite empty. I’ve slowly tried to understand everything that has happened this year and in the DRC and i still don’t know what to make of it. I don’t know where i am.

Since returning from the congo i’ve found it so hard to talk about my experience. people ask what it was like and i don’t know what to say. what do i say? we went to the DRC to run a marathon and i went to try and learn more about the DRC. i’ve come home with only questions – questions about what is happening with the DRC and questions about myself. i don’t know what to do next. the feeling that the year is nearly up and the runs are coming to the end leave me with a feeling of where and what next. What can i do?  in the next few lines i’ll try and put down about what happened in the DRC.

i’ve just tried to write it now but i have no where to start. i don’t know what i’ve done has actually made a difference or not? i want to know that the running has made people aware of the congo, but i’m now not sure on how to convert this awareness into change. i have no ideas at the moment. i’ve spent the last few hours just reading the old blog entries and they upset me, i looked through the photos and they upset me, i listened to the video and audio and that upset me. i haven’t done enough. only this week have i started to realise the impact of this year on me. i feel really guilty at the moment. essentially because i’ve come back from the DRC and done nothing, yeah i ran a marathon the other week, but what proactive things have i done. the congo seems so far away from me at the moment. it feels like i’ve travelled up a massive hill in terms of getting to the congo and now i’m tumbling down the otherside not knowing what’s instore, only that this year is coming to the end i have nothing to show for it. i’m pretty ambitious and i had this idea that by the end of the year i’d be able to present David cameron or Andrew Mitchell with a big list of figures, signatures, photos, video and other odds and ends and say: “look Dave. people care about the congo, what the hell are doing about it, this can’t continue. ACT” may be i’ll get my chance to ask Dave next week at Conservative conference. i suppose what i’m struggling with is that i have no really policy suggestions or proposals to give to the government, apart from do more and do it better. This is why i’m naive, i thought by running a bit that this would make them sit up and listen. i’m so pleased people are interested in the DRC and i am genuinely happy and proud that i’ve met so many amazing people this year who have given so much support and time to helping me take this campaign forward. A lot of people seem to think that this whole running thing is about chris jackson and feeds some sort of giant ego that i have – that really hurts. this has never been my aim and never would be, i just want people to be interested and aware of the congo and the continued loss of life. i’m sorry if people think that this is about me, but unfortunately because no one else is getting off their arse (in government etc) i decided to try and do something, and because of that it is going to focus on me a bit because i’m the guy running. This has only ever been about getting people aware of the pain and hurt that so many people have felt because of the conflict. trust me when you hear the stories of the people who have been affected and you think of those that they have lost, you can never approach this as being about you. i’ve kept pretty stum about people havingt these thoughts, but as i look back on the memories and tales from the last few months i find it quite hard. sorry if i’m rambling.  you probably thinking i’;m speaking loads of bollocks because the most frequently used word/letter is ‘I’ or ‘Me’. but these are just my (there i go again) thoughts on what has been an incredibly tough year, the running has actually been the easiest part, the hardest part is dealing with all the horrible stories you have in your head, the feeling of being useless and guilty and not knowing what to do next to get more and more people in the congo. i just wish the conflict would stop. there’s a lot of people blogging and flagging up stories about the DRC, i suppose i could do that,. but i don’t want this whole blog to turn into a news wire – that has never been my intention, i think if you keep pumping out stories people get turned off and go numb. I just hope that the few stories that i’ve relayed back to you all have done enough for you to think about the congo and be aware. All i know is that by being aware then that is the first and hardest part to acheive, after that then it is up to us all to try and do your bit.

i’ve lost a lot personally this year, i just hope that for what i’ve lost some good has come out of it.

this year ends in December, marathons have a finish, the conflict in the DRC…i don’t know and that is what i can’t grasp.

have a nice saturday!

i’m off for a bath.


3 thoughts on “So where are we?

  1. Hey Mike!

    I always read your comments with great interest and sense of gratitude. My friend, I’m from the DRC (born adn Bread) you just don’t know how it feels like to get the chance to learn what you are doing for that country.

    I don’t want to sound patronising but I can understand your feeling when you say you feel a bit empty and have a lot of questions as the year is ending. The feeling of helplesness is one thing that realy make you feel sad when you look at what can and should be done but somehow, stuggle to materialise.

    In 1997, when regime changed in the DRC, I was enrolled in the DRC army and worked as a Military Police, I saw things starting to change for the better, people started to clean the streets, line up to wait for public transport, not throwing litter in the street, corruption was avoided anthusiastically etc… but only one year into the new regime and things started to look bad again. You know what happenned in 1998, in 2001 etc… it all seems like we moved one step forward before going back 10 steps. If I say I felt violated and betrayed, that word will not be enough to explain my feelings when I was forced to flee the DRC in 2001.

    I just wanted to say that what you have done, although you struggle to make great sense of it is enormous and very important to millions of Congolese. Do not expect the DRC to change in a couple of months or years like by a magic wand. it is clear that things can get worse before they get better but that is the very reason why we should continue to try and make a difference where we can.

    My awareness of the DRC situation and my thurst to do something about it has renewed and grown bigger since I discovered what you intended to do for that country. Although my actions my be limited, I know I can testify that I am a living example of your actions since I was touched by the special way of the work your good heart have dictated you to do for my country.

    Keep it up my friend. Be proud of what you’ve done because many even Congolese are far from doing even a tiny bit of what you have achieved for their country.

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  3. Great comment Richard, thank you. I sat down here to write a lovely email to my British friend who lives near Stroud. I have to write on this blog first. I agree with Richard what you’ve done Chris, is enormous. Congolese people around the world know that Chris Jackson has Congo in his heart and he has a big heart. The thoughts going through my mind are pretty much the same as yours. I haven’t been to Congo and don’t know if I will ever have the chance to go, I hope I do. What I do know is that they need people like you and me. And so many others who have the strength and love in their hearts to help the Congolese people in any mannor they can.

    My son asked me yesterday why Congo has become such a passion of miine at this time of my life. I’m putting so much energy into it, and I probably won’t see much change and most definitly won’t live to see an end to the conflict in my lifetime. I say he’s wrong, but if he’s right than I will be at peace with myself because I have given a peice of my soul that will live on in Congo.

    I’ve done just what you say you didn’t want this blog to turn into. Shared every piece of infomation I could with my friends on FB. Your right, at some point most just stop reading, or even stop going to my page I’m afraid. No one’s unfrieded me yet!! I’m sure they would like to at times. So I’m changing my strategy. Lets not forget that the news media has opened its eyes and we are seeing more and more being written and filmed about the atrocities, mutilations, and the war itself going on in Congo.

    I was talking with a person at work the other night about my support of Congo and how many wonderful people I’ve met through my advocacy. ( Many not in person, but to me the written word speaks volumes, and one can know a person very well just by reading, listening, and thinking about what and how the communication is being written ). At the same time someone came in my office and was sitting in my chair, and said to me,”We are going to see you on a talk show some day.” I hope so.

    I was born an avocate! Congo sometimes takes me back to Viet Nam, another nameless and useless war. The protests started with one person. After one person spoke out, the movement escalated quickly here in the states and around the world. Lisa Shannon is that one person for Congo. And yes, we all had the same feelings we are experiencing with Congo. Have I done anything, why am I doing this, is anyone listening? Doesn’t anyone care? For the most part we did it peacefully and I think the people of Congo want the same, to end the war peacefully.

    My stradegy now is to talk face to face and educate anyone who I think is interested and care about the Silence that has taken so many lives so brutally and how the survivors are so courageous and brave. I’m talking with groups. If I raise money, great, if I have not and just brought one person into this movement, then I’m happy. Because that one person is going to bring at least one more person into this movement, so on. You have to care to make change. I’m singling out those who care enough to help make a change. I’m going to sing, dance, put a smile on my face, be proud, and rejoice as the Congolese women do. I just been matched with my first Congolese Sister, Yvette. She is young and I’m hoping with my support she will make a great impact in the next year and in her lifetime.

    Go to your Conservative conference with peace in your heart. Whom ever your speaking to, speak to the Congolese people at the same time, you will get your message out. If I could erase the horrors you’ve seen and been through I would. Your a young ladd. Time will heal some of it. If you are religious, they say God only gives you what you can handle. Remember that the stories you were told by Congolese women were told with strength and bravery. We women are a very strong lot!! Keep ice on the ankle and elevate it!:) Most of all , Chris, stop beating yourself up. We are all standing right there beside you. Know that always. If you need to contact me or anyone else, please do, don’t hesitate.

    One more thing, I’d like you to have a look at Dominique Bikaba’s page. He is the founder of the Pole Pole foundation that Michelle ran for. He lives in the DRC. He’s a very lovely man, with a huge heart also. I think he may help you make some sense of all that you have done. We all know Chris Jackson did not run these marithons as an ego trip. You ran them because of the enomous talent that you have and to embrase a cause so dear to your heart. We thank you, as we thank everyone who runs, walks, holds events, gets the word out. “Stand up, show up, and shout out,” Lisa Shannon.


    PS. Get yourself a whistle from Falling Whistles. Wear it everyday. Its a great conversation piece for the boy soldiers of Congo. Then you take it from there!!

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