Monthly Archives: January 2013

Komakech Joseph among the best in PLE

Just received this from John:
“Halleluya Nigel,
Komakech Joseph made it also among the best PLE students with aggregate 5.
English 2 (93%), Maths 1 (98%), Science 1 (96%), Social Studies 1 (97%).
Check his picture that appeared in monitors publication.

Komakech Joseph amongst the best

Komakech Joseph amongst the best

Thanks love and prayers. John”

Notes: PLE stands for Primary leaving exams.
The lower the aggregate score, the better the result.The very best score would be a 4, calculated from being rated in Division 1 for each of the four papers.  Komakech Joseph achieving a 5 is a stunning result.

Bandit country

Stop Press, 20th Jan. Message from Eva “This morning at 06:50am six armed people with masks attacked us in Rugano forest while taking Sonia to [boarding] school.  We have survived, but all our things were taken.”
This is a notorious bandit-infested road.  I asked Eva what the replacement costs would be:
School fees £210, Exam fee £49, Pocket money £10, Text books and uniform £73.
Total £350.
If we receive anything more than this, it will be put towards school fees for next term.

£140 (including Giftaid) received so far towards the £350 total, so £210 to go.

Update, 23rd Jan. Eva and Sonia travelled again yesterday to Kisoro.  This time they reached their destination safely.  We took the precaution of sending the replacement school fees electronically to Kisoro to minimise the risk of carrying cash on the journey.  Thank-you to those who came to their aid with gifts of money.

Okenggo John’s story and Joseph Kony

Back in early 2012, I asked John to write down how his family had been affected by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army.  This was his reply:

Hello Nigel,
1. About Kony2012, I did watch it and it is really a touching video for some of us who are
directly or indirectly affected by the war.

a) Trauma:
As a child in between 1989 and 1990 I was terribly disturbed by the insurgency of the rebels
to the refugee camp in Kitgum town. I and my family thought we were safe in the camp after
fleeing the war in Pajok.
But on one notably night (March 7th 1990) I can remember a very nasty scene when the
Kony rebels attacked the camp specifically a disco center where youths were dancing. As a
child of 7years we were playing with my peers with the help of the bright moon light at
around mid night, we saw a group of soldiers infiltrating the camp and we thought these were
the government soldiers trying to do night patrol.

Just within a minute we saw them engaging their guns and aiming them towards the dancing
crowds we then became remorse and tried to rush to where our homes were but shooting
started immediately and what we could here was people screaming behind.
We couldn’t make it back to our house, my parents and Mackintosh had fled so I continued
running with Francis while holding his wrist firm. We went to the bush and entered under the
shrubs but unfortunately we were hidding in their way of retreat.

The real horror began when we heard noise from many people heading our direction, over
suddenly we saw them coming with abducted boys and girls while conducting all sorts of

I and Francis were lucky by putting on dull clothes but a women by the name LADUMA
under another shrub about 8 metres from where we were was wearing a bright dress they saw
her and picked her but her two children were with us under the same shrub.
Seeing their mother being taken away, they wanted to cry but Laduma put her finger on the
mouth signalling silence, I then pushed the two children’s heads down and covered Francis’
mouth with my palm. Seeing people beaten, tortured and pulled over thorny bush was not
We kept to this position until 9am in the morning then I saw people moving in the camp,
others crying for their missing ones, I decided to go with other children back to the camp
from where we reunited with our family. Arriving in the camp only finding death bodies or
critically unconscious people. Until now Laduma never returned, possibly death but the
children are now grown up men.

It was this incidence that led to the refugees relocation to Masindi in April 1990.

b) Mystery:
Still in 1990 with the insecurity in the camp my step mother Ayaa (George’s mum) went back
to Sudan. In the early 1990’s LRA were trying to create a base around Uganda-Sudan border
by doing so the children got abducted including my late brother Olweny George. He served in
the rebels unit until when he escaped in 2002 and already suffering from cancer and we were
re-united with him in 2003 but he died in early 2004.

c) Augustine’s Death:
Opio Augustine is my late uncle and the last in my daddy profile. He was a devoted man of
God. After jobless years in a refugee camp, he decided in 1999 to back to Pajok to help the
locked population there by preaching word of God and helping in coordinating relief helps to
the displaced population. At this same time the LRA attrocities have reached its peak along
the border.

On one fateful day Augustine with other 10 people took relief foods to another displaced
camp near Pajok on 13th/Jan/2000 they were returning to their base in Pajok, they were
attacked by LRA-female soldiers who fired Rocket Propel Grenade (RPG) on their
Landcruiser killing 8 people injuring 3. Two Americans, one Norwegian and 5 sudanese.
Augustine died at spot while the surviving three were seriously burnt or suffered multiple gunshots.
Augustine death brought dark days in the family. He was trying to uplift the family from the
adverse poverty but his effort couldn’t be realized. He was the one putting every child to
school and was working out an education project with America church donars from
California but all these crashed after his death.

We tried so hard to pick our selves up without him not up to these days that I have matured
and trying to continue with his legacy. But the truth that he died and left behind four young
children mean the hustle of raising them. The children can now curse the LRA rebellion for
their father’s dead.

2. Burnt Huts
Yes it true that two huts got burnt in Pajok, one for my grand mum Olga and another for Lino
with all property inside. Am not so optimistic about the exact cost but I feel 2million can do
all and push them through the planting period and upto harvest time.
All my regards to those helping this project move on.
Thanks with love and prayers,
(Note: Subsequent to this, a donation was received to cover the cost of the huts)

Therefore having food and clothing…

A few days ago I took half a trailer-full of ‘pre-owned’ clothes to the recycling shop, along with 17 kg of second-hand books.  It made me reflect on the value we place on the daily objects we used.

The clothes were worth 60 pence per kg, which converted to £81.20 cash for the project.  Food and fuel in Uganda costs about 60 pence per meal.  So the clothes paid for 135 meals.

The books on the other hand were only redeemed at 5 pence per kg, a paltry total of 85 pence. I felt sad that beloved books were worth so little, yet relieved at a bit less clutter at home!

Clothing and food, such basic things.  Would that both were shared more fairly around the world.

Dame Stephanie Shirley’s attitude to money

From The Week, 24 November 2012 (quoting the Daily Telegraph):

Dame Stephanie Shirley

“Dame Stephanie Shirley has given away at least £67m – and there’s more to come. “I do it because of my personal history,” she says. “I need to justify the fact that I was saved.”  The daughter of a German Jewish judge, she was just five when she arrived alone in London as a refugee from the Nazis.  She was fostered by a loving couple in the Midlands, and grew into an ambitious young woman with a scientific brain.  Finding interesting jobs hard to come by, she started her own IT company, later re-branded as Xansa….
Dame Stephanie eventually sold the company for around £150m – and set about giving the money away.  Much of it has gone to autism-related charities: her only child, Giles, who was autistic, died after a fit in 1998. “There is only so much you can spend,” she reflects, “and money that isn’t working has an obscenity about it.”