An excellent piece on the BBC today on the resilience, initiative, and leadership shown by many refugees, especially women. The refugee camp mentioned, Adjumani, is an established one, it is 75 miles from the brand new camps at Palabek. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-39998759
Quick update following the Comedy Night on Saturday 10th June 2017.
After paying the comedian we’ve raised £536.40 for the 56 refugees at Palabek camp.
Massive thanks to Phil Beswick for doing a really great warm up, to Mark Palmer for such a brilliant main show and to everyone who supported on the night or sent donations. If anyone would still like to give, please use our donate page at http://arep4change.org/donate
We aim to send the money to Uganda in a few days time.
The above graphic was published recently by Aljazeera. I have just added Pajok (the home town of our South Sudanese students) and Bweyale (where we rent a house as a holiday base). As you can see, the main impact of the famine and emergency on AREP is indirect, due to the flow of new refugees caused by the war in South Sudan.
Juba to Pajok is 188 km
Pajok to Bweyale is 285 km
Bweyale to Kampala is 221 km
10 Years ago this month we first met the South Sudanese children at Kiryandongo. A lot has happened since! If you’d like to receive our August newsletter with all the latest news, please sign up now.
Augustine was murdered by the Lord’s Resistance Army whilst he was helping with a relief convoy in Pajok. The 4×4 he was travelling in was hit by a missile and he died instantly. He was only 36 years old. The only picture we have of him is this one.
Whilst visiting Pajok in December 2011 we had a chance to see Augustine’s grave.
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:
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.
EFFECT OF THE KONY’S WAR!
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.
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
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)
The rough road from the Ugandan border to Pajok is the same one that John fled along as a nine year old boy on March 31st 1989 after the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) attacked Pajok. It is normally impassable during the rains: April and then July to August.