29 May 2007

At home once again

Sunday May 27, 2007 came as a surprise to me; I decided to make a ride on my motorcycle to visit our original village. Because of the war, we deserted our homes almost fifteen years ago. The ride of 45 kilometers according to the reading on my motorbike, the journey took me one hour, it is a fairly good murram road with some pot-holes here and there. As I was riding I could see gardens of groundnuts, cassava and other crops along the road side.
I arrived at Corner Nwoya camp near my home village at 11:00am this camp is one of the newly created camps, called it satellite camp if you like. Although seems to be a bit planned, but the sight of children standing naked and not hiding their poverty, both youth and adult staring at passers-by cannot be avoided.

Instead of meeting my father, who is a retired school teacher, I decided to go straight to my first primary school where I expected to get Christian praying. This school, Nwoya P.7 was displaced and had just reopened this year on the original site. I was welcome by at least fifteen people who had come to pray. The place still looks deserted. The catechists were ready to start the service and of course I joined them in a 40 minutes service. After the service I then decided to a ten fifteen minutes walk to our ancestral home.I managed to get there and recognize some of the trees planted by my father like eucalyptus that have now grown very big and tall. being a seacon for mango,I ate one mango fruit as a sign that at least I have visited the place, and it reminded me of my childhood days. One striking thing was the borehole(see the picture above) that has been constructed by the Sub-county local government at the site of our ancestral well lacally called Wang-Aric.At the moment very few people use the water, but given peace many are going to benifit from this clean water. What I failed to see was the grave of my grandmother who died before the war, and of my uncle who was killed during the war. Maybe next time I visit I have to ask my father to direct me. After this I went to the camp where I met my father and some of my relatives. We had good time and good discussions. My father said he is not yet ready to go and stay at home because of unpredictable security situation, given the fragile peace talk in Sudan.

By Rev.Willy Akena

Pictures above: on the left is a group photo of those who attended the service in this once deserted place and in the background is the classroom where I sat for my Primary Leaveing Examinations before the war.
On the right is of Rev.Willy Akena standing at the borehole(taken by my wife Poline)

17 May 2007

What is happening in Gulu

Today as I was coming from the office the Resident District Commissioner Gulu, I passed via the market street in Gulu town. I was attracted to a small group of people gathered around a man who claim to be Jesus; this man is actually called Oryem Bosco. The sight of Bosco who is lame, poorly dressed, putting on shoe on one leg, on his head is hut made out of motor-car tyre that has been properly made and a cross on top. Bosco has the Rosary and a white handkerchief. According to him the world is soon coming to an end and that he has been sent by God to reveal his plan for mankind. He says he is as wise as a computer and any questions posed to him he is able to give an answer.
This kind of strange figures reminds me of how Joseph Kony, Alice Lakwena (RIP) and Sevirino Lukoya rose up and confused a number of people.
I only pray that after Joseph Kony war has ended no such people should come again to deceive others.
The Bible is very clear on such people; As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately." Tell us," they said, "when this will happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age" Jesus answered: "watch out that no one deceives you" Matthew 24: 3-4

11 May 2007

Kony given Ultimatum

News of the one week ultimatum by the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni and his counterpart Salva Kiir of Southern Sudan open yet another wound in Northern Uganda.
According to our Local Radio Mega FM, the LRA have been given only seven days to assemble in Ri-kwangba near the Sudan-Congo boarder. The Monitor of Friday, May 11, 2007 confirmed the development. According to the monitor LRA rebels have protested the assembly ultimatum. The Monitor quoted the LRA peace delegation secretary for information and publicity Godfrey Ayoo, saying “That kind of thing (ultimatum) looks to be rigid for parties that are trying to gain confidence from one another,” and further said “It wont make sense to say we must assemble in one week when we have lost four weeks without the agreement being implemented”
The International relations Minster Okello Oryem who happens to come from the war affected region, said on behalf of the government that the government of Uganda and the mediator will not expect anybody in Owiny –ki -Bul calling himself LRA because it will be outside the assembly area. The UPDF and SPLA will take action on anybody in those areas after the seven days because they will be causing insecurity.
For the people in Northern Uganda who have suffered all these 20 years, think this is recurrent of what happened in 1994 when the LRA were given 7 days to assemble.
Picture is of LRA child soldiers who are to carry foodstuff for the LRA commanders. Taken on September 11, 2006 by Rev. Willy Akena

02 May 2007

Troubled but not destroyed

The Bishop of West Ankole diocese the Rt. Rev. Jona Katoneene had a mixed reaction while on a visit to the Diocese of Northern Uganda. The Bishop came for the wedding of George and Joyce who are both staff in his Diocese. The wedding took place on Saturday 28,April 2007 at Christ Church in Gulu. Rt.Rev. Jona appealed to the couple to always forgive one another and have love as the key to their marriage.

In another related development the Bishop and his family almost shed tears upon seeing the suffering in a displaced camp at Koro Abili on Kampala road. Bishop Jona described it as “A transforming experience" and that he has not remained the same after this visit. He however confessed that he was deeply troubled by the human suffering that has been going on for 20 years. He said his daughter Rachel is 20 years and that had she been born in Northern Uganda she would have undergone all this experience. His appeal is for more people to come to northern Uganda and see for themselves. On relationship the Bishop said his visit to Northern Uganda has open door for deeper relationship.
Bishop Jona appreciated the resilience of women especially in supporting their families.
Although the developemt in Juba is positive but majority of people in the Internally Displaced Camps are still stuck in the camps.

Report by Rev.Willy Akena

01 May 2007

The best boy survives on left over

Kidega Dennis Okech was born in 1993 to Mr. Okech Charles and Amono Rose. Dennis is the third born out of eight children. Three boys and five girls. Dennis emerged as the best student in the Primary Leaving Examination of 2006 in his school, Pece Prison Primary school and admitted at Sir.Samuel Baker Secondary School in Gulu. Dennis attributed his success to hard work and support from his teachers. During the third term he felt sick but because the parents could not afford to meet the medical bill he was treated from home, thus took him long to recover. The problem was cough. After the exams he resorted to making bricks with the hope that the result would favour him and he could use the money from the sale of bricks to meet some of the requirements. Although it was not enough, but he started classes and as a result of non completion of fees, the result was dinial of access to the dinning hall by the school administration. Dennis told me that he used to go in the dinning hall after the other students have eaten and search for the left over, since he had no meal card.
At one point he was sent home to look for the balance, but the father gave him 1,000 (one thousand shillings) so that he can instead buy food from outside the school compound.
Dennis’ father Mr.Okech Charles worked as Prison warder and security guard but for one year now he has no job and in his early fifties. While the mother is a house wife.
When I talked to the father on Monday April 30th 2007, Okech said “I would like my son to study but I cannot afford the school requirements” “This boy (Dennis) is unique in character, he is the one who make my compound clean and wants to make sure things are done properly. The mother Rose Amono was not at home, but fortunately I met her on my way back. Rose told me that she wanted to handover the boy to us because she does not have ways of raising the fees.
When I asked Dennis what he would like to become after his studies he said “I would like to become a Medical Doctor so that I can help people” and I think he can make it given chance, Dennis got Distinction in Science.

According to letter to Parents Dennis Second term fees is 144, 850 (one hundred forty four thousand eight hundred fifty shillings) the other expenses including scholastic materials may go up to 50,000 (fifty thousands shillings) so about $ 115 US dollar Dennis can meet the second term requirements

You can contact me on + 256 772 667 334 or send e-mail to akenawilly@yahoo.co.uk or dnu@utlonline.co.ug