Posted by: haleymulf | March 4, 2009

The Rescue of Joseph Kony’s Child Soldiers

The last couple weeks have been very eventful; tests, papers, and a little travelling. A friend from OU came to visit South Africa after studying here last semester and brought with him the newest documentary by the three guys who created Invisible Children. The Rescue of Joseph Kony’s Child Soldiers was basically documenting what these three guys from California have been doing in Northern Uganda for the last several years after making their first documentary.

Joseph Kony is the leader of a rebel force called the Lords Resistance Army. They formed to rebel against southern Uganda in the late 70’s and have since then killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The part that makes this war stand out from others is that the rebels in Kony’s army are children that have been abducted and forced to fight for a cause that they don’t believe in.

This is the longest running war in Africa and over 30 thousand children have been abducted since it started. It boggles my mind to think that this is happening not very far from where I am. Invisible Children is doing whatever they can to bring this to an end and free the children that only want to go home to their families. The movement is very strong in America and Europe and now there is going to be an event in April to bring attention to Uganda.

I recommend that everyone gets involved in this by going to invisiblechildren.com and participating in an event or finding a copy of the documentary to watch. While Mark was here he had a showing of the movie and gave away around 100 copies of the movie. Now there is talk of 20,000 DVD’s being made to give away in South Africa and leaders speaking about it on TV or at various events before April 25th. This gives some hope for the future of this continent that I am currently on.

This morning I was walking to class and I saw a man in torn clothes bending down to clean the tires of a brand new BMW that was parked on the side of the street. He looked up as I was walking by and smiled so I could see his missing front teeth. I smiled back and he said hi as cheerfully as he possibly could. For the rest of the morning the question of whether the owner of the BMW would tip him when they got back was on the back of my mind.

Everywhere you look there are people doing whatever they possibly can to make money since there are no jobs available. Some men park cars and watch over them until the owner gets back hoping for a tip in the end, some of them wash cars in parking lots, and some just stand there all day asking everyone who walks by for two or three rands. But they are there every day, no matter what. The same guys, in the same spots.

One of my friends got a small whole in his brand new polo shirt so he gave it to a man that’s always on the street in front of our houses. He has worn that shirt everyday since. When I was in Graskop last weekend I was looking at crafts on a stand. As I turned to walk away, the women behind the stand said please support me. I looked back and saw two little girls sitting on the grass behind their mom. Being here I am witnessing and hearing about things that are difficult to grasp. It’s hard and it’s been hitting me a lot lately, but I think in the end it will be worth it to see what I become having had this experience.

On a lighter note, I will be travelling for the next week to see something that brought me to this country in the first place… Okay not really, but I’m pumped. Addo Elephant Park is home to hundreds of my favorite animals and I couldn’t be more excited to go. Also, I joined the United Nations Student Association and am starting to get more involved in my community. I think that a large part of studying abroad is getting involved in what you’re surrounded by. While you’re there, it’s your community too. I would love to leave South Africa and be able to say that I did something to change it for the better.

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Responses

  1. Oh man!! no pics with this entry…sad day…you know I dont read…hahaha just kidding…very interesting stuff and I’m glad life in South Africa has been eventful!!! Talk to you soon

    Can we get this movie in the states???? We can right??

  2. you never cease to amaze me. i hope you
    are having a wonderful time with the
    elephants. pbs had a program about the drakensburg and i looked at your pictures again.

  3. haley i would like to take this time to tell you that you are a beautiful person, inside and out. Enjoy the elephants!


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