Summer Camp 08

As many of you know Jeff and I have been involved with an organization called GuluWalk for the past few years. This NGO was created three years ago after two men from Toronto decided to bring awareness to the plight of the people of northern Uganda. Adrian Bradbury and Kieran Hayward spent thirty nights walking 12 kilometers from their homes to the centre of Toronto. They slept on the steps of city hall and walked home the next day. They were trying to mimic the “night commuting” that was happening in Northern Uganda at the time. Their desire to bring attention to the situation in northern Uganda led to the creation of the GuluWalk, an NGO (non-government organization) that has held walks world wide for the past few years. Among other countries, walks were held in China along the Great Wall, in Australia, in England, all over the US and Canada, there was even a walk in Korea this year (but it was unfortunately too far for us to attend!!) GuluWalk donates money that is raised to help support local organizations that work in the Internally displaced persons camps up north.

Northern Uganda has been in the midst of a civil war for over twenty years. It is estimated that over 20,000 children have been abducted by the guerrilla army, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and have been forced to become child soldiers or sex slaves for the army generals. These children were stolen from their homes and their schools in the middle of the night. Thousands of children left their homes each night and walked to the relative safety of the larger cities to sleep in bus shelters, in front of stores, and in shelters to escape the kidnappers. While the night commuters are no longer walking, there are still over one million people in Northern Uganda who have been displaced from their homes and are living as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in cramped camps. These camps are full of disease and violence and are not healthy places for children and adults to be living. There is no running water and no electricity. These people live day to day, just trying to survive.

Two Canadian women have decided to live in the Padibe internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in northern Uganda for the month of July. For thirty days they will live in a mud hut and fetch their water in jerry cans on a daily basis. They will eat 1200 calories a day which amounts to 1.5 cups of beans and 1.5 cups of rice split between two meals. While these women seem to be making a huge sacrifice, they remind their supporters that they are simply calling Padibe home for thirty days. The people living in the camp have no set date of when they get to go home.

I would encourage you to read their about their adventures on their blog here. It’s amazing to read their stories, and the stories of the people that they meet. (I also put a link to their blog in our Brainfood Blogroll.) I found Uganda to be a country full of wonderfully welcoming people and it seems as though the hospitality and community extends up north. Even though they have so little, the people in the IDP camps seem to have welcomed Lara and Andrea with open arms, willing to share their experiences and their lives with these two women from half way across the world.

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~ by dawseng on July 15, 2008.

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