Monday, August 3, 2009

Falling Whistles

I first heard about Falling Whistles when I lived in Austin. Since moving to LA the organization has exponentially grown.

The Falling Whistles Campaign was launched with a simple plan; be a whistle blower for peace in the Congo. Falling Whistles began as a small story about kids in the front lines of war, armed with only a whistle.

By developing partnerships with local leaders who are rehabilitating and reintegrating children from war affected regions- Falling Whistles hopes to create peace in the region.

The creator of Falling Whistles, Sean Carasso, visited the Congo and kept record of his trip by maintaining journal. His journal was written from inside the war zone of the Congo and describes the origin of the FW campaign. Read part of Sean Carasso's, the creator of Falling Whistles, to better understand how this organization came to be.

"This is the story of a single day.
A single, shape-shifting, life-changing, perspective-altering, day.

Originally I went to Africa to put shoes on kids' feet. My friend built a company grounded in giving and there I was, on the ground, giving.

After the shoe drop, I went wandering. Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone, sometimes safe, sometimes not. I wanted into the wild. And wild it was.

"It is not down in any map; true places never are." ~ Herman Melville

I yelled at thieving monkeys and saw Nelson Mandela yell from a stage. Cried in refugee camps and laughed during moonlight tribal dances. Witnessed a baby born and parents buried. Climbed south to the bottom of the world and headed north to see Ugandan kids become visible. Slept inside mansions and on mud, ate porridge and gazelle, fended off pickpockets, swam with otters and rarely stopped, showered or stood still.

For two months, there was death and destruction, failure and fear, adventure.wonder.motion. But all around was a pervasive hope moving steadily toward what could only be described as progress. Stories of change everywhere to be found.

Until I walked into the chaos of Congo. The so-called Democratic Republic of Congo, home to one of history’s deadliest wars. Strange circumstances led me to her doorstop, but there I stood ready to see what she might show my western eyes. The following is what they saw.

As I’m writing you, the sun is setting just over the central lake in Goma. My computer screen blurs. I cannot help the weeping that hinders my vision and falls on the keys even as I type these words.

Bob Dylan said something along the lines of "People tell me it’s a sin, to hold so much pain and hurt within." I suppose I’m wondering if they were right

We originally planned to spend the day tracking down the rebel leader Nkunda. We had arranged an armed escort to take us into his territory. However after speaking with a Congolese military journalist who had just returned from that area, we decided to postpone the trip.

He said the upcoming Peace Conference had infuriated Nkunda’s rebels and
they had gone mad with drugs.

He told us it didn’t matter who guarded us, the sight of our white skin would enrage them and they would fire. "Another day, but not this day" was his advice. We thought it prudent to take note.