Written by Francis Ssuubi
The Kony war,is seeming to have ended in northern Uganda but the scars still remain.One of the new children we have is Gilbert 5 years, whose father is one of the former warlords, who was granted amnesty by the government but is in prison on different charges not related to his participation in the massive killings in northern Uganda.
Pamela 28 ,Gilbert’s mother was abducted when she was 13 years,at that time Kony and his men would raid a village and take all the young girls(9-15years) that they would come across in the huts or in schools. They choose the young ones because they were easy to indoctrinate and would not remember their way back home.
The girls would walk long distance to unkown places in the bush away from their homes into South Sudan or DR Congo .When they would get to the bush, they would be aligned with blouses removed,breasts exposed and the warlords would pick wives from the captives. Each commander would select 20 girls and would take them away to a secret place, and would have sexual intercourse with each of them. This was the second step of the wife selection process, from the 20 he would then choose the ones he thinks have sexually appeased him. And the rest would either be given a gun to fight or would be killed. A majority were never allowed to live.
While in the bush, Pamela gave birth to Gilbert and another Boy 12 years ,she returned from the bush in 2008 ,their Joy of coming back from the bush was short lived when the father of her children was jailed a year after.
Gilbert who was born in a bush does not know that he has a father, he does not know how he looks like, he was 2 years when his father was jailed.
Children in a bus last year going to see their parents in prison
So on the 25th October 2012,when we take children to visit their parents in prison, he will be one of the 17 children who will be seeing their parents for the first time. In such visits ,we play a role of showing children who their father or mothers are because, even their parents may not know how their children look like, since some of the children were in their mother’s wombs when their fathers were put in prison. Some children were born behind bars, and given to relatives when they made 18 months, when they grow up but cannot remember the looks of mothers in prison.
Gilbert does not know all his brothers and sisters ;his dad fathered so many children in the bush, some of whom he also does not know. When Gilbert’s father was jailed, all his 13 wives went their own ways, others abandoned the children. When I went to Gulu to trace these children in July 2012,it was practically impossible to see them.
In Gulu where she stays ,Pamela has also since remarried to a man who has three wives, she is a poor peasant, and walks distances to a hired garden and by helping her son we have lessened the burden she has.
Gilbert says he is happy at Wells of Hope because he can have enough food and he gets satisfied.
You can help Wells of Hope by changing the story of Children of prisoners like Gilbert,any amount of support can make a difference!