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Multiply these 3 stories by the thousands of Women raped, tortured, beaten throughout northern Uganda over a period of 20 years through 2006. Rebel groups are still continuing this routine throughout central Africa.
What is your name? Adong Christa.
How old are you? 67 yr.
Why don’t you tell me about your family life how many children. 9 kids. Husband. Kony rebel killed husband in 1986 on the 10th December. Already had 9 children
When did she get married. How old. 1964. 18 years old.
How did the war affect your life. We were living with husband at home with nice home. Kony rebel were in bush. Her husband was educated. Studied at Jr. Bible college. We had a lot of food stuff at home. Chicken, birds, domestic animals like goats, etc. so that is why rebels decided .. . they are ignoring them and not supporting rebels.
Did they know the rebels yes, different rebel category. Whenever they move they pick up people who may have been neighbor and give report to rebels. Give money. Beaten seriously including children. She was tied up on tree in front of the children. They killed husband but did not see where.
What happened after that. When the husband was taken away which is paining her so much. Rebels gave instructions to steal and rape her in front of her children daily. One morning she was caught asking her for leftover but had last corn, not dressed yet without shirt with baby and took her far away and raped her in camp.
Why didn’t she run away after husband killed. This is the problem, she cannot go to relative, you are bringing more problem to the family. Warned not to go to relatives.
How long with rebels. First group of rebels called chilea? . joined govt army sleep in bush with children at night. They wanted to take her one day. Commander - I see she has young baby let her go home. How can you become happy after the torture. Afraid to come back and farm. Lakawana new rebel group. 1991 (Kony) famine with children cannot take care of them in the city (Gulu) sleeping in hospital veranda at night. (See invisible children) How long stay on streets. Transferred to main road highway, nearby barracks because sometimes rebels feared. 8 years in the IDP camp. How is your life now? Govt forced people to go back home. Now seeing a bit of change. Can sleep in your house.
Did you lose children. 3 were abducted and killed.
Now you are back in village and can sleep in your house. How did you find about Thomas Charities. It has bring a big change now. Bring together ladies who suffered. Got saved through conference. And since then is a Christian. Thomas Charities brought great change. Have problem staying alone but now has friends. Because of faith through conference with other women. What she passed through thanks be to god. She prays before sleeping. Was worried about life. God helped her survive god is there for her.thanks to Thomas Charities it has now brought many friends and has changed. Many crops planted. Take seed and sell them. And great what Thomas Charities is doing. They can share. They never knew Christ and now they pray every week and appreciated what Thomas Charities is doing.
Thanks to God for you coming here. Tell me about your life growing up here in Gulu as a young woman. She grew up with mother and father. When she got married she came to her home. When she came to her home she began meeting with a lot of problems. It began with the funeral of the mother-in-law. She was burnt in the house by the rebels. After about a month, rebels came back and tied her to a tree. They took her husband and killed him in front of her. After they shot him they ran away leaving her tied to the tree. After some time, other people came to see what was going on and untied her. Her husband had been shot in the head and there was a lot of blood. She brought him into the house and she ran away. Now they had a lot of pigs. When she ran away, the pigs entered the house and ate the husband. So when she came from hiding in the bush, they buried the husband. After the burial of her husband the rebels came and were firing into the air and everyone was running.
What year was that? She cannot recall, b/c she was confused. She ran away and hid when they were firing but the rebels tracked them by the foot trail and they took one of her 9 children. They killed her child. When she tried to follow them there but there were many corpses and they were all undressed and she couldn’t find which one was hers so she just carried one and buried it. After the burial is when people started going to the camps (IDP -Internally Displaced Camp). That is when she also went to the camps. She suffered with the orphans at the camp. Before they went to camp, you have to understand that Acholi would dig (farm). Now the women were raped. This leg got broken because the rebels liked sleeping with her so she wouldn’t reject them. Give money. Give goat. Give money. Give goat. Give until it is all finished.
Did you know these men? Most of them they have guns they have knife. You should not see their face. You cannot recognize them. They will chop off your head. So I went to the camp. You could get food from IDP camp but there was a famine that was killing the kids. So they stayed the camp for 7 years. So after that you understand camp life. Most kids didn't go to school. She has 8 children not go to school.
Are they still alive or married? One has been recently murdered and left 3 kids. There is no more running hiding in the bush at least they were sleeping. In process of going back home at least she is now digging at home.
How do you find the community now yes she has small hope. She has children that left. One daughter died last year. So in 2 months 2 have died. If you leave them they become thieves.
One of the rebel leaders was captured and sent to the Hague what do you think should happen to him? For all the suffering they afflicted on the Acholi people? but for them those things can really hurt them when they hear such things. There is nothing other then to kill them. In bits, not directly. For the pain is heavy when the abduct you they cut you they don’t leave you any mercy. You are beaten and either you survive or not.
So you think the commander should be killed. The problem you don’t know if the commanding officer but definitely the ones who tortured you.
So after everything that has happened to you you are now back in the community you’re part of the community. How has it affected you emotionally is the past still inflicting pain in your life? Where is her hope? At least according to what she has gone through she is now interacting with other women that Thomas Charities has formed they give advice and the conference that she went through has brought some hope to your because she has come to realize that being with other women is one of the advantage to give courage strengthen her spiritually. Every two weeks they get together.
How has Thomas Charities impacted your life physically? It has brought great change she can even show you she used be like this (lethargic, unmotivated) but now she is move like this and can go and sell at market. And play with women. And can forget -----
Have you come to Christ? (translation missing) So she’s happy since the conference she has joined a church she is praying and when they preach scripture and she feels like she in the Word now and she is free and she is changed you can see how she has changed as you can see even physically.
So I was asking her you have gotten a lot from Thomas Charities and she has changed. What advice can you give other people who have gone through what you have in the past. I encouraged them to join Thomas Charities because we have organized a group not based on just one thing. Farming is there and piggery is there What little we get we share and then we advise each other. For her she never knew that she could be transformed to this level. So whenever someone comes with same problem I advise where necessary. you understand when you are in the group each one has different kind of advice. You will change somehow.
What is the majority of people who have gone through the same problem that she knows around her. Not only in the group but in the community. How many does she know. Those that went through what she went through she does now know.
You have gone through a war and rebellion there are still going on in Africa. What would you tell them? Things can happen in different ways in what you can expect. Prayer is the answer. The advice is to trust God. Thank you.
She is call Margaret. How old are you. 51 years. You look so young oh my goodness that is good praise god. Tell me about your life growing up. She’s from Nwoya clan called _____ brotherhood.
How did you come to koc goma. Got married. Married in 1974.
Tell us about your husband your children. Her husband was killed by rebels in 92. What happened. There were staying in Koc Goma that is where husband was abducted from. The camp (IDP Camp) was in goma. the rebel ambushed the camp.
Inside the camp? Yes, they took a lot people up to Koc Kaleng and killed them there.
How did you survive? She hid somewhere in the hut.
Did you have children? Yes, 4.
Did you get a chance to bury your husband? No. They were not able to find him. There were a lot of dead bodies there.
So you are now rebuilding your life. How is your life? The life that she now is going through is through prayer. She has come to realize that is only through prayer to strengthen her and that is how she is taking care of the kids and they have grown up she is struggling with them
.I see her ring. does she have a new husband? this ring she is still keeping her promise.
You still have the ring as a promise to your former husband? so it is sad now to take care of the children and then the children to take care of her. she will not get married again.
How is she involved with Thomas Charities? For her, she came to know Thomas Charities through a friend was one of our beneficiaries. The husband passed away from AIDS recently. She is the one who gave her advice to go to Thomas Charities. They will encourage you and work together there. That is how she became a part of us.
What project are you involved in with Thomas Charities? For them they are still farming. the first lot worked with the piggery.
So has it benefitted you? So for her changes are there personally so food is not a problem they always share they work together. The children are the problem. They never went to school and once you miss the chance to school you never recover it back. And secondly staying in the camp brought a lot of other problems some they produce a child at 16 yrs old not knowing who the father was. That is why our problem is always continued like that. This is why there are so many children without parents. Someone will impregnate you and run away and leave you alone. Not even coming to find out if you conceived.
If someone were to help you what would your need be. It is better children she cannot get big money to send to school. For her she is okay.
How old are your children? One is born in 99, 92 pregnant when husband killed. Can no longer take him anywhere. Her daughter had a child and left. Daughter's husband killed for being a poacher. She is taking care of 4 children. The message she can give to people outside is you cannot be alone. If you are alone you head is filled with a lot of thoughts but she is now feeling better. Thank you for everything.
"We Have Never Heard Such Words of Hope Before"
Women's Conferences November 2017
Northern Uganda and Western Kenya
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