Northern Uganda

They gave speaches about how they couldn’t repay me, for just having visited. My bed covers were made into pretty patterns. They gave me the best food, the best seats and made me sit on a platform at the front of the church. People sometimes gave me their offering, rather than the church. They offered to build me rooms for when I return and adopted me into their families

Really I give glory to God for working through them, because all I did was accept their invitations. But:

The war makes life very difficult for many of them. I only visited camps close to the town centre, which are in better condition. But there are people living in houses the size of a desk and without protection from the rain. Some of the camps get support from NGOs, and some don’t. 1 in 25 Ugandans have fled their homes and the protection the government provides is minimal. People don’t know the truth of the matter. Is the government hiding the problem? When people are attacked they don’t know whether it was the government or the rebels

I was told that some of the older people were commiting suicide because they couldn’t face the indignity of living in the camps and having to bathe in full view. Most of the camp members seemed to be children who could play games and enjoy life even though a boy of 11 could be the head of a large family

Things have improved in the last few years. Though the situation I was in is better than in the towns further north

I’m confident God has a solution

Most of the rebel force is made up of abducted children who are forced to kill their parents so that they have no home to return to. Though there is an amnesty in place for those who return, and those that do are forgiven by the same communities they attacked

They asked me to send you a message. They said “We need their help.” But then said “No no, don’t tell them that. Things might be just as bad there as they are here. Instead, tell them, we love them”

Northern Uganda 2004

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