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Night Commuters of Northern Uganda

Every evening they walked for miles to towns in Northern Uganda to be safe from the LRA Army of Joseph Kony


War was the rule of the day in northern Uganda.  Families, villages fled in the Internally displaced camps, others went as far south as Kampala.  Those who remained in their villages feared for their children and the children feared for the their lives, feared impending abduction by the Lord's Resistance Army led by the dreaded Joseph Kony.

Children began to sleep in towns for safety reasons.  Every evening outside of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and other places in the north of Uganda, thousands of children would make the trek into town for the night.  At the height of the night commuting phase during 2003 up to 40,000 children sought refuge from the LRA in the towns of the north.

Carrying mats, blankets, school books, maybe some food they would enter the towns, seeking a place to sleep for the night.  Hospital verandas, sidewalks beneath store awnings, taxi bus parks where they would find shelter in the open.  Finally schools, and then some centers opened their doors.  Some agencies would provide blankets, some food for the children, while other non-governmental agencies had nothing but space and safety.

It was miserable, a generation of children went to sleep each night without a mother or father putting them to bed, praying with them, giving words of comfort or a simple hug.  A generation of children studied by the light of some store sitting on the street, or under the lights of a petrol station.  Many of them determined to do well in school in spite of the present situation.

Night commuting brought safety from the LRA, but there were new dangers in the towns, dangers that the children did not thNight commuters in Northern Ugandaink of.  Adults would abuse some of the girls, rape and molestation became common occurence.  Children became mothers as young as 12 years old. 

Children would be robbed of their meager possessions, the centers established by World Vision, Noah's Ark and others helped, but some children preferred the street with its dangers and in some ways excitement of being able to do things they could not do if they were with their parents.

The situation was tragic and the world knew little about it until three young men came to Gulu and made a video which gave birth to Invisible Children, also the famous Gulu walk which has benefitted many children in the north of Uganda.

Sympathy sleep-ins became commonplace on college campuses in the west, and events like the Gulu walk raised the awareness of westerners regarding the plight of the night commuters of northern Uganda.

With the peace talk between the LRA and the Ugandan government a cessation of hostilities was signed and slowly safety returned to Northern Uganda closing most of the night commuter centers by the end of 2006.

Now in 2009, night commuting does not exist in the north of Uganda.  Some of the night commuter children became street children in places like Gulu, only to be rounded up and returned to their parents or families.

Schools that were closed have reopened, but there is a dramatic need for more classrooms, schools, teachers that are qualified.  The good news is that children are sleeping in their homes, instead on the streets in the towns of the north of Uganda.

The experiences of night commuting, the war, the fear of the LRA still affects the children, it is still in the back of their minds, but it has become somewhat easier in 2009.

The need for help, the need for assistance is great, for rebuilding of schools, of classrooms.  There is a need for libraries, non-existent in most cases in schools, a need for the building of playgrounds and fields for football (soccer) and other athletic activities.

There is an increase in the number of volunteers from the west going to Northern Uganda, but so many more needed to help in projects that deal with sanitation in schools, water, learning and simply telling a child through their presence that someone cares...from Kampala...jon


Invisible Children is using Uganda for its own gain

US troops arrive to ‘kill or capture’ Kony

Sponsor a child in Northern Uganda at the Pader Orphan Caring Project or just read the amazing story of each young person.

Alice Auma Lakwena

 Alice Auma Lakwena: Some see her as the Joan of Arc of Uganda, others as the mother of the long war in Uganda.

Who is Joseph KonyWho is Joseph Kony?  Villain, Christian, Muslim, Mystic, Patriot, Madman.  but who really is he? Who is this madman? Whose only goal is maim, rob & destroy. Uganda's Child Soldiers (Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army) What took place for over 20 years in Northern Uganda.

Catherine Ajok: The story of a courageous young woman, kidnapped, made a wife of Joseph Kony, after years reunited with her family in Northern Uganda.

Richard Akena Former Child SoldierRichard Akena:  Captures by the LRA several times, from child to killer, now heading an orphanage in Northern Uganda. His Story. Where are the children of the LRA?  Where are the abducted children of Uganda? What has happened to them?

Amnesty for Child Soldiers

Amnesty for LRA Child Soldiers? How Uganda handles former child soldiers and how they adjust into the community.

Night Commuter

The  Night Commuters of Northern Uganda: Fortunately this no longer exists but it is a look back to when it did.

Child Soldiers

Child Soldiers - Victims or Assailants:  Throughout history there have been child soldiers in all parts of the world.

Joseph Kony in 2009Uganda 2009 and Joseph Kony LRA: This is a look at the problems with the LRA in 2009 in the DRC. Joseph Kony - LRA UpdatesJoseph Kony LRA News Updates: regular updates to activities of the LRA, presently in neighboring countries of Uganda. It is still not Christmas in Northern Uganda - Christmas 2006It is still not Christmas in Northern Uganda: a look back to Christmas of 2006 in Northern Uganda
Christmas 2008 and the LRAIt does not feel like Christmas-Joseph Kony-Christmas 2008:  Operation Lightning Thunder began against the LRA on December 14, 2008.  Uganda is more than Idi Amin, Joseph KonyUganda is more than Idi Amin, Joseph Kony and the LRA:  The images that westerners have of Uganda is amazing.  Rarely do those images reflect the reality of Uganda. Living in a warzone - UgandaLiving in a Warzone - Uganda: Many people across the globe think that Uganda is a warzone, it is a warzone of wrong information about Uganda. Northern Uganda - Peace - Give it a Chance: It is time to put aside the wrong information and help to rebuild Northern Uganda in any way possible.
Joseph Kony's Mother dying wish.Joseph Kony's Mother's dying Wish.  Before she died she had a wish for her son Joseph Kony. Hep rebuild Northern UgandaVolunteers needed to help rebuild northern Uganda, two weeks working with a former Child Soldier at his orphanage - weeks that will change your life forever.  Two weeks in Kitgum, Northern Uganda that will remain with you for a long time.

 

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