Sunday, July 20, 2014

These Knickers Came in Bunches

This was a special week, we were able to go out and minister at one of the refugee camps that has been set up in Uganda to help the many thousands who have had to flee South Sudan because of all the fighting. This is about 7-8 hours away from Kampala. I have to admit I was picturing some type of camp with a fence around it and all the people in bunk houses or something of the sort.  I had it all wrong.  The public affairs couple, Elder and Sister Hansen were at the camp with the humanitarian couple, Elder and Sister Hannan last April.  They were surprised at how the camp has been improved over just the last three months.  It was great to see the huts and maize and other vegetables planted around each plot of land.  They certainly don't have much but they are starting to carve out a new life here in Uganda. 

This area had lots of houses together.

Some are in better shape than others.  You can see the gardens around so they will hopefully be less dependent on the food being brought in.

This one was just outside where we handing out the hygiene kits.

This little girl took one look at me and took off running.  If I only had a quarter for every time that happened with me and the girls...

Not sure what this hole was going to be for but I am guessing it will be a latrine of some sort.  They take turns in the hole, it is already getting deep.

Elder and Sister Moore are the Member Leadership Support (MLS) for Gulu.  There are two Branches in Gulu and this missionary couple provide support for the missionaries and the members of the Branches.  When the Church humanitarian couple were there in April handing out pots, pans and blankets for the refugees they were told they really needed hygiene kits for the girls.  The Moore's posted on their blog the need and it really took off with members of the Church, Primary, Young Women and Relief Society and friends of other faiths helping provide the kits necessary.  Help came from all over the US and here in Uganda to make this effort possible.  This was not a Church sponsored event, it was just a chance to do something for the people of Africa.  There were over 3200 kits provided along with a sizable cash gift from one of the businesses the Moore's son works at in Canada.  Bags and bags full of hygiene items the ladies/girls could use.  The kit consists of soap, panties (they call them knickers), liners, shield, and instructions.  The shield snaps around the crotch of the panties and holds the liners which serve as a washable, reusable sanitary pad.  Many of the school children have to drop out of school because there is no way to meet their feminine needs. The Moores did a wonderful job and we were only there to help with the very last part of the effort.

We put together the last of the kits the night before the hand-off.  Elder Squire, Elder Moore and Elder Hansen.

The Uganda Chapter of the Days for Girls helped Sister Moore get the project moving. The Days for Girls and the Camp Coordinators worked with the Moore's to coordinate distribution. So the big day arrived and we drove 1 1/2 hours out of Gulu to meet the Days for Girls and Ugandan Government representative.

Here are the Hansens and and us with Ssimbwa Buslwa who was a driver with the Days for Girls.  He in LDS and does a lot with the Humanitarin missionaries.  He is also the Chief of his village.  Very interesting man.

Here are the Moores with Ssimbwh

A short meeting before we head out to the camp.  Most are with the Days for Girls organization who took the lead on passing out the kits.

This young lady (Imaculee) lived in Northern Uganda when  Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group which used to operate in Uganda, came and abducted her two brothers ages 13 and 15 to fight for them, but left her as she was only 7 at the time.  They later learned her brothers had been killed and she was still having a hard time telling the story.

It is good for us to be able to do such a small part in this part of the world.  “For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:9).
The Lord said to the Church:
“When I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings. …  

We did not have any opposition but I think we all need to be looking for our individual opportunities to do good works, and the Lord will accept our efforts. 

Now I will share a bunch of photos from the refugee camp.  The camp is outside of Adjumani, Uganda and about 30 kilometers from the South Sudan border.  It was impressive that most of them were in very nice traditional dresses, prom dresses or just nice business dresses.  When you see the scars on their forehead or side of the eyes it is a tribal marking. Many of these women have lost a husband or other family members because of the fighting in South Sudan.

 Lots of pretty head coverings and dresses

 Sleeping Children
 Anxious faces
 She has just got her hyigene kit and I think she is trying to figure out what to do with it.

 Lots of pleasant smiles

 Photo bomb...
 Dirty faces

 The Sudanese are very tall as you can see from one of the leaders of the camp.

 I love all the colors

 The old and the young, we had them all.

 These guys hung out watching all the action.

Some very beautiful ladies

 With all the ladies it sounded like a very noisy bee hive for a few hours.

Sister Squire, always will be a labor and delivery nurse.

Great example of the tribal markings.

I have no idea how this lady lost her eye but I suspect it had something to do with Kony's Army.  For a good review of the nasty type of things done to innocent citizens by Kony's Army, a good read is Aboke Girls.

 I was a bit worried this rock was for me...

 Lots of pretty dresses and colors
 Side markings on the side of her eyes.

 Another example of how tall some of the ladies are.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:37–40.)

 We did go to a wild game park on the way home but that will have to wait for the next blog...

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