For twenty years Northern Uganda has been plagued by violence at the hands of a rebel group, the L.R.A.(Lord’s Resistance Army), led by Joseph Kony. The L.R.A. committed unimaginable atrocities against the most vulnerable members of the Acholi Tribe. Children as young as eight years old were captured, and forced to serve as soldiers, torture and kill even their own family members.
The Ugandan Government, in an effort to protect the people of Northern Uganda, set up I.D.P.(internally displaced persons) camps. Hundreds of small huts were built to house thousands of people in a very small area. Widespread disease, malnutrition, depression, and alcoholism are among the devastating effects of the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions in the camps.
Since 2007, violence in the region has ceased and many Acholi people have begun to move from the camps back to their land. this transition is difficult and filled with challenges. An entire generation of people has never learned to “dig” – to prepare soil for planting. For many years, health workers worked with people within the confines of IDP camps where people were easily accessible for services but where overcrowded conditions brought about serious health problems. While sanitary conditions are better and life is more productive, adjustments have to be made with regards to reaching people to provide health services and education.
Recently a book was written by an Acholi man who experienced the devastating effects of this war first hand.