Monday, May 5, 2008

Challenges in Africa

I've been blogging about the Sudanese children going to school in Africa.
This is a story of what took place as one student tried to get to Nukuru to go to school.

Our Sudanese brother, John Kher, has a sister named Adhieu who lived in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp in Uganda. until she got her opportunity to go to school. John found a friend who agreed to escort her to Nukuru so she could go to school. He went to get her, they got on a bus headed for the city, and everything seemed fine.

That is, until the escort was arrested. They often throw people in jail without reason until they are given a bribe. Sometimes if no bribe comes, the jailers lose interest and let the prisoners go.

The escort told Adhieu to keep going on the bus. Think about this: Adhieu is 13 years old. She doesn't speak the langague. She's spent most of her life in an IDP camp, so her exposure to the bigger world was extremely limited. Now she's on a bus, alone, having just experienced the traumatic situation of seeing her protecter hauled off to jail.

How would you be affected? The only word that comes to my mind is terror. The injustice of a life like Adhieu' only makes me want to intensify our efforts to get these Sudanese children who have lived in so much terror all their lives into a safe, clean and healthy environment. It's worth the sacrifice of a few hundred dollars to make this happen.

What's the rest of the story? When Adhieu's mother went to the bus station to pick up her daughter, she wasn't on the bus. Now the whole family and those who care about them are all frightened. The image of the 13 year old on a bus in a country where she doesn't know the rules or the language is set permanently in my mind.

Fortunately, Adhieu knew enough not to leave the bus station. It turns out that her bus decided on a whim to go to Nyrobi instead of Nukuru. John tracked down the bus and found someone to go to Nyrobi to hopefully find her at the station. I can only imagine everyone's relief when Adhieu was safe and found!

Does this story touch you?
Do you have a 13 year old daughter, sister, niece, friend?
Imagine them in this story and see what emotion this leads you to feel. Then, consider what you are willing to do to make a difference in a land where basic necessities of life aren't considered "necessities but luxuries." Perhaps as we all do our part, we will one day see Adhieu's and others like hers different than what they have experienced to this part.

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