Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Invisible Children's School.
Women carry water in the IDP camp
Little boy with flies all over him, but boy did he like to smile!
USA aid and World Food Program boxes made into a door in the IDP camp.
One of the child Mother
On Thursday we left for the six hour bus ride to Gulu. Gulu is in northern Uganda, and if you do not know anything about northern Uganda, there has been a 20 year long civil war going on. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony has been terrorizing the people in Gulu for far to long, and as a result the people out out of fear for the lives were placed into internally displaced person (IDP) camps.
As a team we went and visited the IDP camps, and saw the poverty first hand. The children either have very dirty rag like clothes, or no clothes at all. Flies are everywhere, and are all over the children and are feasting off little amount of food they have. I was shocked when a group of us were able to walk right into the IDP camps with no one stopping us, we obviously did not belong there, but no one said anything to us about it. These camps were set up for extra secruity, but I didn't see any security there, just a mass amount of extreme poverty.
Invisible Children is an organization that is trying to improve the life of children in Gulu, they are the organization that first sparked my interest in Africa, and it was surreal to finally be in Gulu, and see the impact Invisible Children have had first hand.
www.invisiblechildren.com for more information. I would suggest you watch their documentary if you ever have a chance.
After seeing the IDP camp, we went and visited with child mothers. Joseph Kony and the LRA kidnap and brainwash children to fight in the rebel ranks. They are tortured and forced to kill, and young girls are used as sex slaves. Those who are able to escape often are pregnant, and are shunned from their community.
The child mother's performed some traditional African dances and songs for us. We then sat down and they shared some of their stories with us. Most of the girls were kidnapped when they were very young, and have many children. When asked what is their greatest need, they responded that they wanted an education! Not for food, water, or clothing which they definitely still needed, but they wanted a chance to be educated. The last thing they asked of us, was to never forget them, and believe me, we wont.