It’s my first week in Uganda and it already feels like home! Within the short time I’ve been here, I’ve maneuvered through traffic on the back of a motorbike with my luggage by my side, cooked chapatis from scratch, fetched water from the local well, and trekked 3km to town, which is about 2 miles. The hospitality of the people, the vibrant culture and the beautiful scenery are just some of the few reasons why I admire Uganda.
On my way to Soroti from Entebbe, I got the chance to understand why Uganda is called the Pearl of Africa. The stunning green valley, snow capped mountains, crystal clear lakes and the rich mosaic of cultures convey the true beauty of Uganda. However, within this beautiful country lies a serious issue that has brought me all the way from the States. This issue is defined in two simply words: Child Sacrifice.
Having spent a part of my childhood in Nigeria, I’m very familiar with the practices of witchdoctors, which ranges from herbal medicine to human sacrifice. However, the extent to how these rituals have been embedded in the Ugandan culture has baffled me. The rituals of witchdoctors in Uganda are embraced and accepted by some of their citizens and even high officials in the government. While talking to some of the community members, I was shocked to hear that during last year’s presidential election, President Yoweri Museveni hired hundreds of witchdoctors from around the country to pray for him, so that he could win the election. I was even more shocked when I came across an ad in the newspaper of a witchdoctor advertising his business.
Some people still believe that child sacrifice is something that took place in the distant past. But the sad reality is that child sacrifice is extremely alive and well in Uganda. For the past few days, I’ve gotten the chance to hear story after story about children who have been killed or had their bodies mutilated by witchdoctors. One of which is the horrific story of Santos and Leah’s only son Gideon, whom the organization is named after. In my next blog, I’ll talk more about The Gideon Foundation and the founders.
Those of you who know me know that I’m very passionate about the work I’ll be doing this summer. My work in Uganda is the beginning of a longtime commitment to social justice and advocacy against child sacrifice. My summer work-plan will be filled with interviewing police officers, former witchdoctors, church leaders and families who have been affected by child sacrifice. In addition, I’ll be putting together a quilt that would allow those families to tell their stories and convey their message.
Here’s a short video I put together that shows my journey from Entebbe to Soroti: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bHkaSdJsQc&feature=youtu.be
I end this blog entry by saying Ayalama Noyee, which means thank you in Ateso. Ayalama Noyee to those who have supported me on my journey to Uganda.
Until next time!
Posted By Oluwatooni Akanni
Posted Jun 23rd, 2012