Friday, June 20, 2014

Who do you think about when you're alone?

The view from my outdoor hotsprings water
"bathroom" this month in Pai, Northern Thailand
While my kids are away with their dad this month, I've rented a small house in the mountains north of Chiang Mai, near Pai - a lively and lovely small town that we've visited before. I am on my own with the intention to disconnect for a while. Since arriving 4 days ago, though, one lingering issue keeps disturbing my peace. 

Some dear friends of mine in Uganda are facing a serious crisis.  What remains of the Life in Africa I founded in 1999 is a tight-knit group of self-empowering war-affected women who live in Kampala's displaced Acholi Quarter. After years of working together to learn skills that would serve them whenever they managed to move back home to Northern Uganda, the land in the displaced camp/slum these women live on has now been sold for commercial development. They now need to move back to Northern Uganda urgently, which is causing quite a lot of unrest and fear. 


Some of them have nowhere to go with their families and not enough money saved to buy their own land. Some do have land to eventually resettle to but nothing to eat there in the countryside yet, and no shelter for their family to sleep under. Without an immediate place to go they will end up homeless - forcibly displaced again - which will greatly disrupt all the progress they've made over the years since the war, on getting their families lives back together. 


They are hoping to face this challenge together, through buying some land in the north jointly and establishing a Family Transition Center.  With 5 days left on the fundraising campaign that would enable them to begin, I find myself unable to sleep well - and fully disconnect - until I know that they've raised what they need to get started with. I have contributed what I can and helped them set up the campaign. I know they are also working on selling off some Life in Africa assets. But none of that will have been enough if they don't end up being able to buy the land - a measly $4000 seems so little, and yet for these ladies - most of them living on $2-3 per day - it's an impossible sum. 


Last year I visited Uganda to do some book research with the Life in Africa ladies about the organization they've built, their Acholi culture and their life stories. Over the past month I've been writing about some of them, to help promote their campaign.  These are real stories of people I know personally, and love. 




  • Jennifer Adoch: a small woman with giant shoulders - Jennifer's mom is looking after her kids while Jennifer works at a full time job, but her mom has leprosy and is being chased off of her land by neighbors. Jennifer now also needs to leave where she lives and is desperate to know where to go.






Right now there are 5 days left to raise just under $1500 more in pledges, so that the Life in Africa ladies can begin moving their families to safety together.  Try as I might to disconnect from the world for a while, their beautiful and kind faces are haunting my sleep. 

Surely this is doable - Can you help with even $10? Or maybe a tad more? 

Click here to pledge what you can to help build up some end of campaign momentum please. Even $10 counts, and you will be charged nothing unless their minimum goal of $4000 is met. 

Crazy how hard it is to disconnect from the world. Who do you think about when you're alone? 

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