Monday, February 16, 2009

Escaping the slaughterhouse

We did the assessment on Saturday, it wasn't NEARLY as bad as I thought it would be. Thank god. Most of the people ran ahead of the LRA so they hadn't been attacked, just fled the fear of it. "They were coming for slaughter" as one man put it.

The first group, who fled a month ago, are living relatively well. They are in a gorgeous, GORGEOUS location, amidst banana trees in a wee valley. As we sat there, cross legged in the dirt under a little thatch shelter, breeze blowing through ruffling my hideous be-logo'd t-shirt, I thought "this ain't too bad, I can be a refugee here."

Then we went to the second group. The bulk of these guys, around 4,000 people apparently, came a week ago. They are living wherever they can find spare land, out in the open, just sleeping on the dirt, the lucky ones maybe are inside the old, crumbling mud-thatch school which has huge chunks of the wall just missing. They don't have much food, and none of us have given them any, so the women are having to sneak back inside into DRC to take little bits from their gardens all while hiding from the rebels.

It wasn't the horrible, wretched experience I feared it would be, no stories of limbs being hacked or daughters taken away, no eyelids removed, etc etc etc. Whew.

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