Thursday, June 18, 2009

Village of Hope

As I previously mentioned, I am going to Africa in less than 2 weeks!!!! [internal squeal!] Two girlfriends and I are going with an organization called Village of Hope. We will be doing many things; helping build houses, teaching and playing with the kids, feeding at the refugee camps, loving on people... wherever they need us!

So, I wanted to share with you the website for the Village of Hope (many of you have received information about VOH already, so this is for you followers who haven't!). I hope that if you are not aware of the attack that parts of Uganda have been under (for many many years), that you would read here to learn more.

The stories of these children are so amazing, and I KNOW that when I get back, their stories will be even more real to me. For now, I'll let you read up on it, and once I return, I'll be full of words to share!

I also wanted to share Cindy Cunningham's blog with you. Cindy is the director of Village of Hope, but she's so much more than that. Her heart and her passion for the children are truly amazing. You can read the story here of how she came up with the vision of VOH. I love to hear her talk about the kids, because it's as if they are her own children. She's a protective mother bear for sure. Please read her blog and pray blessings and protection over this amazing woman as she is truly in tune with the heart of God.

Here is her first blog post after coming back from her trip to Africa. This gives you a taste of what she first experienced:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Invisible Children of War in Uganda
Arriving in the town of Gulu (5 hour drive North of Kampala, the capital) we drove to a city of huts. They refer to them as "camps". Displaced families from north Uganda fled here. WHY?The rebels, who live in the bush, go from village to village, burning down huts, killing adults and abducting children. They take young girls and use them as prostitutes in the rebel camps. The boys are taken to be work slaves and taught to be rebels.So families run to Gulu for "safety". But there is no safety. The rebels still come to Gulu. In the night the raid the "camps" killing, stealing, burning, raping. So each night the moms say goodbye to their children and send them off to shelters (large one room tents) where the children spend the they can be safe from the rebels.We walked the dark streets of Gulu to a shelter where we interviewed children who had been abducted by the rebels, but managed to escape. One 11 year old girl explained how the rebels came and killed her parents in front of her, and then abducted her...raped her... and then after 1 month let her go with these instructions: "Go back and tell everyone what we did to you and tell them, we will do the same to them."A 15 year old boy told about his 4 years of living in a rebel camp. He was abducted when he was 11. They kill you if you can't work or get sick. They put a machete in your hand and tell you to kill the weak child, and if you don't they have another child holding a machete, who will kill you. You don't have a choice. The rebels do this to desensitize the children.As we walked back to our lodging, the streets were dark, just 2 days before the rebels had come to this very place and abducted 48 children. It was hard not to look over my shoulder, fear was thick, my heart raced. How can people live in this type of fear day in and day out?A young boy came up to us as we ate breakfast and said, "I just escaped from a rebel camp, can I eat your leftovers?" We bought him breakfast. I took my bread from breakfast with me, wrapped in a napkin. As we drove to the next camp, I saw a boy along the road and handed him the bread. He wouldn't take it. So I asked them why? I was told that he can't take the bread because UN gives them food once a week (which will feed their family for 1 week) and they are not allowed to take food from anyone else.We walked through a maze of huts, hundreds and hundreds of them. This was one of the 18 camps in this city alone. Children sat on the ground, with flies all over them. They didn't swat them away; I guess they are used to them. A 12 year old boy came up to us crying. He stood in line to get water all morning. Once he did get his water, someone accidentally knocked it over and now he had no water to give his 3 orphan siblings. He is 12 years old, for goodness sake. He should be playing soccer, or watching TV, not looking for food for his family, not being the head of his household.UN doesn't give families run by orphans ANY FOOD. You have to be an adult to get a card which allows you to get food once a month. So the orphan run families have NOTHING!!!!!!!! The girls don't go to school, because they have to find food, and if they can't they will sell themselves into prostitution.The situation in Gulu is not getting better. This has been going on for 23 years. They are born in war and live each day of their lives in war.So who funds the rebels? It may not be P.C. to say, but it is the Arabs, the Muslims. They want to take over Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda. So they send in the L.R.A. (Lord's Resistant Army) or the rebels (same thing just different names) to destroy a people, to bring despair, destruction, to kill, rape and steal what little the people have. Who suffers? The innocent! The young! The helpless!I wish I were making all of this up, but I am not! I wish this was just a nightmare that I had and I could just wake up, but this is as real as it gets. Not a reality that most of us in America will EVER see, not a reality that makes us feel comfortable or good. But it is reality!Since I left Uganda, I have had nightmares each night. But thankfully I can wake up from my nightmares...these children will never wake up from their living nightmare."

I know there's alot of links on this page, but please take the time to read them so that you will understand more. I appreciate it so much!

post signature

1 comment:

Meggers1021 said...

Wow! That is really sad to hear about those poor kids. I'm sure you will make a big impact over there. I will be praying for you.