What does disability mean to you?
What is disability, in general?
Having trained as a rehabilitation professional, I was confident in my ability to answer the questions above. Sufficiently confident to travel outside my country of origin to improve the situation of persons with disabilities.
Years of involvement in disability projects in Haiti, Cameroon, and the territory of the Mushkegowuk Cree unsettled the confidence that I once had in my understanding of disability. This unsettlement was further reinforced through invaluable teachings from disability and decolonizing activists, who have struggled to undo the oppression that they experience personally.
From the alternating positions of unknowing and learning anew, I was connected through a series of colleagues to a disability movement in earnest to explore what the idea of disability means. And what to do about it.
These connections led me to Bulozi, the homeland of the Lozi people, situated in Zambia’s Western Province.
The initial phase of this journey was my doctoral dissertation. Although completing the dissertation took a lot of work, the main task was very straightforward: my job was to complete a research project in a way that satisfied people at my university.
After the PhD, there was a new question “Where do I go next?” And this question was less obvious. In early 2017, I was back in Bulozi as a private citizen, following up with participants and colleagues, and determining some next steps. This time together helped me to plan a postdoctoral fellowship and move to a new university in late 2017. This “postdoc” have allowed me to extend my involvement in Western Province, but it is not a long-term plan. It remains important for me to think of the steps that come next.
This blog is intended to reinforce a particular stage in an ongoing project. Through this medium, I hope to share some interesting ideas, and maybe even some insights. I hope to reach colleagues, collaborators, and possibly allies. My involvement in Bulozi feels very much like a road less taken. I would love your company along the way.