'What Kony and the LRA did to our family'

By Lalam Grace, mother and grandmother, Northern Uganda
Grace lost her husband and son during the LRA war

My name is Grace. Before the LRA war, our lives were good. The community was happy and we were peaceful. My husband and first-born son were alive.

We were able to do business and had enough money. We had over 50 cows. We also had goats and sheep. They were all killed in the war; it impacted our lives tremendously. You can see the way we are now.

One night the rebels came into this village and abducted very many people. That day was very unfortunate because we never used to sleep at home, we always used to sleep at the camp. But that day a woman was giving birth on the way to the camp so we had to give her support. We had to offer her help and sleep at home.

I was sleeping there with my husband and our youngest children, Achen and Opio who are twins, and Okello. The rebels came and kicked down the door. They flashed the torch and shot my husband where he was sleeping by my side. Opio [pictured below] and Achen were just in between us. I grabbed my children and pushed them under a sack. My husband stood up. The first bullet didn’t kill him and I was able to have some contact with him. With blood all over him he tried to run out of the door but they shot him again. When he fell with the second bullet, they shot him with a third. And that’s how he died, right beside this house.

I began to cry and touched my husband and found he was dead. The rebels heard me crying and came back for me. They battered my son and told him to kill all the cows in the corral but he was in dung up to his knee. My boy tried to run and jump but he couldn’t move, he was stuck. They stepped on him and shot all the cows.

They brought my son back to the place where my husband was lying dead. I could hear my son crying “please don’t kill me, I’ll come and join you and work for you”. They shot him there mercilessly and burnt our house down. They killed all the livestock and burnt the granary where we stored all our food.

My remaining children and I survived with just the clothes on our backs. There was no food, no water, no nothing. Everything was burnt. Afterwards I had a serious mental problem; I became mad. This was very, very heavy for me and unlike anything I had experienced before in my life. I would beat anyone who came to counsel me and tear at their clothes. I eventually became settled and rehabilitated but my children had begun to go mad as well, even to this day I have one son who is mad.

That's my story and that's what I went through.

Now I do brickmaking. I go to the swamps and get the children to help me out. I smoulder the bricks, sell them and get money for the children’s education. I also do farming, I dig and from the digging I get money. [But] I don’t have any livestock now.

Bulls help in ploughing the gardens. You can go and open up a very large piece of land and plant a lot of crops and have enough food… Livestock also help in an emergency. Say a child is kicked out of school, I can take a goat or a bull and sell it and take the child back to school. I can’t afford to buy any livestock. Three of my children are staying home from school right now because I can’t get the money to pay their school fees.

I don’t make enough money to pay for all my children and grandchildren from the brickmaking and farming alone. All the money we do earn goes straight into the children’s education.

There’s not enough food for us now. We only eat once a day. We used to get good nutrition from cow and goat milk but now we don’t have any of that.

It would be very nice to have livestock because I can grow more crops if I can plough. It would mean good nutrition for me and my children and I can send my children back to school.

Achen [my daughter, pictured above] performs very well in school. She’s a good girl who listens very well. She loves going to school so much. She has made up her mind to be a teacher.

I want a good future for my community, a peaceful community which is good for my children to grow up in, to be responsible people.

Grace's story is just one of many in this part of Uganda. Watch this video to learn more about what ChildFund is doing to help hundreds of families rebuild their lives:


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