I met this woman last weekend at an Internally Displaced Persons Camp. She has been living there since the mid-1990s, the most violent period of the war with the LRA. She was shot in the hand during an exchange of gunfire between rebels and government soldiers, but couldn’t get proper medical treatment. At the time, a line was drawn between the two sides and this woman was on one side, and the hospital was on the other. She couldn’t cross the street to get to the hospital, so she didn’t. She went home and was treated locally. Her friends and family brought her to a traditional healer who started by cutting her hand off at the wrist. The inevitable infection followed, and her arm was amputated up to the elbow. Without proper care, the infection refused to subside and she lost her arm up to above the elbow. After a month of local treatment, she finally got the opportunity to visit a hospital. There, in a final measure to control the injury, her arm was amputated nearly up to the shoulder.
She could have gone home and removed herself from her day-to-day responsibilities, but she didn’t. She could have sat under a tree and had everything brought to her, but she didn’t. Instead, she took in children who had been orphaned or abandoned. Some were related to her, some were not. She now has six kids relying on her for everything. She wouldn’t have it any other way, and she would never complain about it. She simply tells the story in a straightforward, unemotional narrative and goes back to work. She lost her home, and her arm, and much of her family, but she never lost her sense of survivorship. Or her smile.
Posted By Bryan Lupton
Posted Jul 7th, 2009