You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Dartmoor’ tag.

The road in front of us: from one continent to another

The road in front of us: from one continent to another

“The road in front of us grew bleaker and wilder over huge russet and olive slopes, sprinkled with giant boulders. Now and then we passed a moorland cottage, walled and roofed with stone, with no creeper to break its harsh outline. Suddenly we looked down into a cuplike depression, patched with stunted oaks and firs which had been twisted and bent by the fury of years of storm. Two high, narrow towers rose over the trees. The driver pointed with his whip.

“Baskerville Hall,” said he.”

From “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first published 1901-2

The road in front of us

The road in front of us: bleak and wild?

Probably the most famous story set on Dartmoor, where we now find ourselves,  back to getting the usual skewed view of Africa by watching wildlife programmes on TV (the new Attenborough is very good though, we can jump up and down on the sofa and say: “we have been there”).

The road in front of us: Wildebeest and our own Attenborough moment

The road in front of us: Wildebeest and our own Attenborough moment

Are we staying in a high, narrow tower? Not quite, it’s a barn conversion on a working farm.

The road in front of us: we're in the barn on the left

The road in front of us: we’re in the barn on the left

Ugandan subsistence farming meant hours of digging with a hand hoe. Farming here seems to involve rushing around in big machines through narrow farmyards and much moving of mud from here to there.

The road in front of us: mud waiting to be moved somewhere

The road in front of us: mud waiting to be moved somewhere

I remember, when we came first came back from our two years and nine months in Gulu, my eye kept being drawn to the skyline, Gulu was low rise and flat.

 

The Kitgum Stage

The dramatic height changes of London were mesmerising at first, although like so much of the once so familiar that had then become strange, it quickly became familiar once more.

The road in front of us: London skyline

The road in front of us: London skyline

Our new situation? Yes it is in a bowl, or ‘cuplike depression’, as most farms seem to be; “muddy bottoms” Mary calls them.

The road in front of us: muddy bottoms

The road in front of us: muddy bottoms

It is a world of mists, soft light across undifferentiated fields leading to a clearly differentiated skyline; what appears to be a relatively close horizon. Some sort of metaphor for our quest to find a new life? No, it’s just quite misty.

The road in front of us: what have we missed?

The road in front of us: what have we missed?

Big tractors running through the yard again with dogs snapping at their heels, many dogs, also quite undifferentiated, they never quite seem to get out of the way of the vehicles. Our dog, clearly designated as pet, lies in her basket looking puzzled, as indeed do we (appear puzzled that is).

The road in front of us: play misty for me

The road in front of us: play misty for me

“Through the gateway we passed into the avenue, where the wheels were again hushed amid the leaves, and the old trees shot their branches in a sombre tunnel over our heads. Baskerville shuddered as he looked up the long, dark drive to where the house glimmered like a ghost at the farther end.”

The road in front of us: the avenue up to Castle Drogo

The road in front of us: the avenue up to Castle Drogo

How will the story end?

The road in front of us

The road in front of us

Some Background

We were in Gulu, Northern Uganda for two years nine months, working with a huge DFID funded vocational training programme.

Gulu is on the road to South Sudan, it was the centre of the conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan Government. Many of the Internally Displaced Peoples camps were here. The northern region has been peaceful since about 2007-8 and the context has moved from emergency humanitarian aid to development work.

The Vocational Training Institutes provide opportunities for the youth(male and female aged 14-35). Most of them lived in the camps or were abducted by the LRA. They have had very little education, leaving them with few skills. Our purpose was to help these Vocational Training Institutes build up their capacity to equip the youth with what they need to earn a living and live as decent a life as possible.

By the Way
Mark's old art/ history of art website is still active should you want to read more by him or look at his work

Whitemarkarts

From There to Here

Our Old Life, Packed Away in one Twenty Foot Container

Here

A Vocational Training Institute, Assembly under the Mango Tree

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 153 other followers

Previous Posts