28 November 2006

Children with hope

News of possible return to original village is greeted with joy in many camps in the Acholi Sub-region. But, the peace talk is taking too long for people to experience this long overdue expectation. A visit to one of the camps in Gulu can be both heartbreaking and sight of smile, as children normally gather around visitors and may even join the tour in the camp. May be other visitors should begin to use children, to take them around their camps.
Rev.Willy Akena

25 November 2006

The Church must remain relevant.

Welcome to Northern Uganda. We hope you will take keen interest to read and internalize the issues and give us your feedback.
God bless you

(Left) The President of USADF Mr.Rod McAllister talks to children at the School during the launch of the Gulu Night mentoring Program at Christ Church Primary School. Photo by Rev.Willy Akena
Rev. Odoch Alfred
Keyo Parish

Guruguru IDP camp is one of the decongested camps in Amuru District with a population of 5,059 people. This camp is in dire of help. Being a new camp, so much is lacking. The road to the camp is full of massive pot holes and during the rainy season it is impassible. On a good road, it would take only 15 minutes but to Guruguru, it takes over 40 minutes. There is no school in the camp; children who really want to study must walk 10 km to the nearest school in Pagak IDP Camp. There are no health facilities within the camp; this makes the lives of the citizens very difficult. The most affected are children under five years and pregnant mothers who do not have easy access to health care and yet the case of malaria is very rampant.

Another problem is the issue of safe water. The population of 5,059 has only one borehole. If one wants clean safe water then one has to wait for a long time in the hot sun.
Guruguru being the most fertile land in Lamogi sub county could serve as food reservoir for the whole district if attention drawn towards it.

Rev. Lukiro James
Purongo Parish
He is an orphaned boy aged 12 and among five other orphans who live with Rev. Lukiro James.
Acire James spends most of his time at home during class time because he lacks school fees and other scholastic materials. He only goes to school to sit for exams and surprisingly, he always top in his class. Despite the hardship that Acire is facing, he is determined to succeed academically. He is a very humble and disciplined boy.

“I fear no man but God’’ said one man caught queuing for food ratio more than twice in Jengari camp in Pabbo Parish in Amuru district. This kind of thought and behaviour was not part of the Acholi culture. We must revisit our way of thinking and help our people come out of this dependency syndrome.

Rev. George Ludwero
Awere Parish.
Health Department of Diocese of Northern Uganda gave out 11 kits to the trained Community Base Health Care from Dino and Odek IDP camp in Awere Parish.
The kits were given to the 11 CBHC from Odek Primary school ground in the presence of a large gathering who turned up for relief items given by Diocese of Northern Uganda.

The Health Field Officer told the CBHC to work hand in hand with all the stakeholders in the area. They should also be close with the HIV/AIDS patients. Most of their work should be visiting the patients, sharing the word of God with them and they should always report to the management of St. Peter’s Health Center in case of problems beyond their control.
The trained team from Dino and Odek after receiving the kits. Photo by Lukwiya Pamela

Breakage of marriage many in IDP Camps
Rev. Alfred Komakech
And Rev. Akuta Wilson`

Marriage is one way God allowed man and woman to live in harmony and to be procreators with him. But it is with great unhappiness that such union is being broken. This has been caused by living in the camp for over 10 years. The Acholi culture of esteeming morality and upholding marriage has been discarded for loose living.
Due to difficult living conditions, married women leave their marital homes to commit adultery in exchange of cash especially from the men who have money. Prostitution in the camps is very rampant. This has led to early pregnancies and abortion. In Koch Goma, a 20 year old girl on 23rd of September 2006 died as she tried to abort a six month old pregnancy.
With the massive moral decay, the church has a big responsibility. She must work hard to try and reverse such perversion in our society. We therefore call upon all Ugandans to help stop this kind of life.

Rev. Oyet Willis
Pabbo Parish
Agole community on the 3rd of October 2006 welcomed the Rt. Rev. Nelson Onono-Onweng on his pastoral visit. It started with the bishop planting a memorial tree.
The head teacher, Mrs. Teresa Lukwiya expressed the community’s pleasure to host the bishop for the first time since the school was established. She appealed for more visit from the Bishop and also for material assistance like a duplicating machine a computer, a generator and a printer to facilitate regular examination.
The Parish priest, Rev. Oyet William Willis emphasized the need to facilitate the girl child if they are to be maintained in school.
In his address, the bishop stressed the need to fight ignorance. He quoted Proverbs 4:6 and 22:6. He said that the pupils have to choose the right way by remaining in the school other than deciding on irresponsible family life. He also urged parents to make sure they pay their children in school without hesitation. He gave an example of a man nicknamed Odong Tulla who specialized in planting only one crop; Tulla. He had enough money to pay fees for his only daughter until she qualified as a teacher.

Soldiers in need of Jesus
Rev. Joyce Akena
Koro Parish
Here is need of introducing Kiswahili service at Koro Kal Sub Parish so that soldiers and their families are reached.
This has arisen because there are two women in the sub parish who never miss church service but do not understand the local language except Kiswahili and these two have expressed their desire to understand the sermons by the parish introducing Kiswahili services.
We cannot stop talking about Jesus as long as we live. And we must take the gospel to all God’s people

Five first grades expected
Rev. Willy Akena
Information Officer

Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng appealed to students who are doing their exams to make proper use of the available time that they have. The Bishop was addressing pupils, teachers and parents at Bobi Primary School recently. Present during the meeting were the head teachers of the schools that are at Bobi Learning Centre. This was in a bid to encourage pupils to perform well in their exams. The Bishop was informed that last year Bobi Primary school which has a population of over 1,000 pupils got only 1 first grade in the Primary Leaving Examinations. The headteacher of the School Mr. Okwongo Thomas Karama said he was expecting at least five first grades this year. He however said the main reason why the school could not perform well was lack of seriousness from the pupils and parents. He said some parents do not urge their children to go to school. On another note, the Bishop said poor performance was sometimes attributed to teachers, because some teachers come to school while drank. He appealed to children to drag the drunkard teachers to school whenever they are found in the camps.

Pastors without pastor

A Team led by the Mission Coordinator of Mukono Diocese Rev. Captain Titus Baraka recently conducted a seminary with the clergy and their spouses from the entire Diocese of Northern Uganda. Rev. Titus said “The pastors have no one to pastor them” He said that is why they decided to hold such a seminary so that the clergy and their spouses are strengthened. The Bishop while opening the seminary thanked New City Fellowship and Mukono Diocese for their financial and material support. The Archbishop’s Secretary for International Development Rev. David P paid a courtesy call and had time to meet the clergy and their spouses. He compared the two world of the development in Kampala and the suffering that has been here for the last 20 years and said “I am amazed to see Kampala again 20 years later, all the changes in Kampala requires peace and justice” Rev. Perk said his heart was broken after seeing the suffering that has been going on . “To come to your diocese 20 years of war and injustices, my heart is broken to see what you are faced with and all alone”. He however assured the pastors of their constant prayers. The seminar attracted over 80 clergyman and their spouses.

23 November 2006

Clergy to spearhead return

The Chairman District Disaster Managenmet Committee and assistant CAO Gulu Mr.Uma Charles today appealed to the clergy to take up theri God given role of leading people back to their original villages. Mr. Charles was today facilitating a workshop organised by the Information and Advocacy Unit for the Community Information Team (CIT) of the Dicoese of Northern Uganda at Sunset Hotel in Gulu.
"They clergy can play an important role in the peace building and general mobilisation of the communities to return home" Uma said.
Mr.Uma further said "The clergy could act as medium of communication and reduce stigmatization, counsel the returnees from their hoplessness attitude, high dependency orientation and psychosocial stress among others"

Earlier, the Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda Nelson Onono-Onweng while opening the workshop said the clergy have to walk together with the people back home. He appealed to the clergy to give update to their parishioners on the ongoing peace talks and other related development.

22 November 2006

Not yet ready to Go home

After a visit to Pabbo camp, one of the largest camp in the Northern part of Uganda, I have learned that the community are not yet ready to go back to their original villages. Their concern is that the peace talk has not yet yielded the positive things they expect. According to the Sub county Chief of Pabbo, Mr. Akena Moses, Kony has to come back home before they can go home peacefully. They have a lot of fear that the rebels can still come back to Uganda and start abducting their children and again conscript them into their ranks

In another related development, the people have moved to smaller camps nearer to their villages like Jeng-gari, Otong, Bira, Okinga and the most recent one is Olam Nyungo, hopfully if all goes well in Southern Sudan then they move to the villages.

As of now the community are still trapped in the squalid camps across Nothern Uganda.

I am greateful to Pernille http://www.pernille.typepad.com who accepted to visit the camp and managed to learn many things. I hope she will publish some of her stories.

Rev.Willy Akena

Diocesan Information Officer
In the picture above, Pernille is viewing together with the children in Pabbo camp the pictures she has taken

21 November 2006

Working on the blog

Today I have with me in the Diocese a good samaritan who came all the way from West Nile to help us make this blog. We hope you will join us in appriciating her for the good work.
More is still to come

Willy in Gulu