Uganda Diaries

Starting afresh in the wake of war

These final diary entries form part of IRIN’s extensive multimedia coverage of the humanitarian impact of conflict in northern Uganda. Lord’s Resistance Army rebels are no longer active here – they have moved their operations into neighbouring countries – so millions of people have left the crowded camps where they lived for up to two decades to return to their home villages. These are the stories of people who have made that journey and are now trying to overcome the trauma and dislocation of war to rebuild their lives, and livelihoods, from scratch.

Esther Lalam: schoolteacher, HIV counsellor

“I know how one can manage HIV in adults – it’s pretty simple, follow the medical prescription, follow a balanced diet, good sanitation and seek medical care regularly…"
" I tell the schoolchildren never to trade sex for gifts. The children understand my HIV lessons. They ask a lot of questions. I also tell them never to stigmatise people who are living positively.”
“I work at the antitretroviral clinic without pay. There are so many clients. I also do home visits. This is very hard work because I don’t have transport. I walk everywhere. At times I ride a bicycle to reach clients who live far away.”
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Monica Atto: single mother of five, beadmaker

“Food is a problem. I have no garden to cultivate crops to feed the children. It’s a very hard life. I leave everything in God’s hands. I have been thinking about my suffering and I can’t think any more. Nothing good has ever happened in my life, it’s all hardship”
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George Oringa: rights activist, youth worker

“I monitor and report issues of gender-based violence that is very common among the returning displaced people… In the camps, some of the cases were so frightening and horrible, at one point my life was threatened if I continued reporting abuse but I decided never to give up.”
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Dalson Oyo: farmer, catechist
"I moved back to my village because the area is peaceful. I’m happy I’m finally living in my home in Telela. It’s a beautiful place with views of Lagoro hills. I can’t believe my family is finally home when I reflect on the past bad days of the Lord’s Resistance Army abducting children, burning camps, killing civilians and enduring the hard life in an IDP camp. Read complete diary
Owiny Lakarakic: beekeeper, blacksmith, farmer

“I was among the first people to leave the camp and move back home. I started with nothing here, not even a hut. I used to make a fire in the evening and sleep under the tree. I work tirelessly cultivating my garden and making knives, spears, bows, hoes, a plough. They bring me some income but the family needs are great, and school fees are high.”
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