On Saturday I fly from Montreal, where I’ll be attending the Dart Society board meeting, to Orvieto, Italy.
There I’ll be participating in the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. The program’s vision is to create a global network of people dealing with refugees’ mental health, economic and justice needs.
I can’t wait.
There are about 50 participants from all over the globe, and we’ve started introducing ourselves via email. Thus far I know about people from the United States, Haiti, Uganda, Brazil, Italy and a Kenyan who lives in Vancouver.
I also learned today that Richard Mollica, the program’s director, knows Mary Harvey, a family friend and the mother of one of my brother Jon’s closest friends Eric (I actually presided at the wedding ceremony between Eric and his lovely wife Chie.).
As part of our preparations, we have to read a number of scholarly articles and a few books, two of which I have already blogged about in this space. Thus far I’ve read three of the eight required articles. While some people feel often with justification that academic works can be dry as dust, I can honestly say that each piece has gotten me increasingly enthusiastic about the trip and our joint experience.
One of the pieces from the late 70s talked about the need for a new medical model that shifts away from a purely biological approach to a more holistic view that incorporates a broader view of society. Another article discussed spirit possession in central Mozambique, tracking the number and severity of the instances, noting the different types of spirit possession and pointing out that women generally get it worse than men in this area.
I’ve got about 20 more to go before next Saturday and am glad for the plane ride from Montreal to Europe, and, each piece takes me that much closer to the final destination.
I’ll keep you posted.