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January 22, 1978

[JourneydeJenny email 1/30/07] "From the World Social Forum to the world"

Dear friends,

It came, it went and I will be processing the World Social Forum for quite a
while. I apologize for not updating you throughout the week; my days were
filled with the WSF and my evenings (and late nights) were filled with the
events at the bulldozed slum behind my hostel. It’s been a very intense ten
days both emotionally and physically.

I first want to say how much I appreciate the opportunity to be here. It
was an honor to be part of the WSF. And I love being in Africa. This
journey is amazing… it feels so good, so right to be diving into some of the
most complex issues in today’s world and just being open, going with the
flow, and being ok feeling completely overwhelmed by the problems. It’s a
good process.

Please go check out my blog: http://journeydejenny.blogspot.com . For those
of you who never click on a link in an email, you’ll be missing out if you
don’t check out some photos and stories!! ;-)

As a quick overview of what I have to share, here ya go:

*!* The World Social Forum *!*
It was incredible to be part of the global energy for solidarity and
struggle. I learned about the devastating details of so many issues, made a
lot of friends, and experienced African-style grassroots organizing. I also
got quite depressed at the state of the world, and questioned the role that
the WSF can have in building “the movement of movements.” Basically, it has
beautiful potential, but the flaws of poly-centric grassroots organizing are
difficult to overcome. My final conclusions are still swimming in my mind.

*!* About issues *!*
I dove into neo-colonialism, women, water, AIDS, caravans, landless people’s
movements, corruption, the role of China in Africa, and plenty more. I saw
how the local and global levels connect (or not) both horizontally (between
localities) and vertically (from the grassroots to the official NGOs to
governments to the biggies of the IMF, World Bank, etc.). I witnessed the
ugliest side of our world, both theoretically and directly. And I felt the
power of joining together in song and spirit to fight for what we know is

*!* My neighborhood slum bulldozing *!*
During the exact same six days of the WSF, I also took part in events in my
new neighborhood, here at the hostel. After the first night of witnessing a
horrifying and violent eviction of a LEGAL “informal settlement,” a few of
us tried to leverage the resources at the WSF. From organizing to protests
to tear gas to beatings to a second bulldozing, it was quite a play of
events. I still have to write it up. Besides the specific details, I
reflected quite a bit about what they role of Americans can and should be in
this kind of situation, as well as the big picture of land and power.

*!* About Africa *!*
People are so beautiful, situations are so extreme. It’s a fascinating
story with the levels of organization here… seems like many a problem came
when the Europeans imposed the nation-state boundaries. And corruption is
intense. But it is a wonderful thing that people identify with their tribal
roots as well as Africa as a whole.

*!* Jenny’s Journey *!*
This is such a wonderful step in directing my life work. And I’m realizing
that it’s not all about me learning (taking) as I go… I’m finding that my
experiences with City Repair and TLC Farm could actually be helpful, from
fundraising advice to ideas of natural building and appropriate technology
to the simple story of people working together to improve their place
(without many resources).

And as for the next step(s), I fly to South Africa tomorrow to dive into
three more weeks of engaging with issues of land and housing (and connect
with some very vibrant social movements). The month of March is unplanned…
I may go to Botswana to visit a network of permaculturists. On March 31 I
fly back to Nairobi, where I will live with my new friend, Rachel, and help
her plan a Peace Caravan, which takes place the last two weeks of April. I
am very excited about this, and I’ll tell you why later!

So that’s a little taste of this trip… I do hope you’ll look at my blog, and
as always, give me *any* and *all* feedback.

in community,

p.s. I haven’t yet posted some final reflections on the WSF… that’s tomorrow
’s work for a long day at the airport.

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