Following is a letter that Charles sent in response to the election of Barack Obama. David Bersch works with a man who has been friends of President Obama since high school and he not only played the basketball game we all heard about on the day of the election, he vacationed with him in Hawaii at Christmas. David’s friend said he put Charles’ letter in Obama’s hand. Imagine how thrilled Charles was to learn that his letter was personally delivered.
Dear Mom Mary, President Mr. John Papa, Vice President M. Christopher, Mr. Monroe, Mr. Edward, Mom Irene Gillman, Doctor Stanly, all Rotary Club members, family, friends and relatives.
I am very grateful for the total democracy which happened during the election. All the cooperation and consideration of human dignity and the people of the US have shown to the general world. In most African countries during election and post election period always accompany with blood pouring but what happened to US should be a permanent lesson to the entire world. Our prayer is the new president, BARACK OBAMA God should bless him in all knowledge he needs to push US from its current stage in areas like economic, social, political and religious matters to enable the world to experience drastic change from the current stage. US as a state is the food granary (stores) for three quarters of the world, most projects in health, church and poverty eradication is being funded by the support form US. The whole world is closed in this election which took place. On my own behalf and on behalf of Northern Uganda, I am herby sending our appreciation for above all democracy you have shown to the world. The bible says that leaders are born and not made; I strongly believe that his Excellency BARACK OBAMA is born for US State.
We were deeply saddened to learn of the death from a heart attack of our dear brother Omwony Ojwok on November 22, 2007. He was 60 years old. At the time of his death he served the Ugandan government as a Member of Parliament from Labwor in the district of Abim and was the State Minister for Economic Planning.
A lawyer by training, Omwony is remembered for his role in bringing together various factions of Ugandans in exile to fight Idi Amin’s dictatorial regime. He was part of t he renowned "gang of four" and in 1979 became the secretary of the National Consultative council of the Uganda National Liberation Front, the group that ousted Amin with the help of Tanzania.Earlier he had been the Minister of State for the Rehabilitation of the Northern Districts with a great concern for the Acholi children of Northern Uganda and it was with his help and blessing that we began our work on their behalf.
There have been expenses not covered by the sponsor’s.
The Freeport New York Rotary, that supports Charles, provided him with money to buy a bicycle and a disk for the computer that will enable him to do research at an Internet Café and save it for later study.
Joseph needed glasses because he could not see to do his school work and the money was provided by his sponsor. Patrick injured himself falling out of a tree and needed medical care and his sponsor provided the money. He is fine with no broken bones. This happened during the school recess so Justin, Joseph and Charles were able to give him the support in the hospital that is required in Uganda, including food.
Justin, one of the young men who is in touch with us regularly, did so well in secondary school under our support that he was awarded a full scholarship to the University of Dar es Salaam by the Ugandan government. He is doing well with his course, Civil Engineering. UCCEF supplies him with money to help with his expenses not covered by the scholarship. He hopes to find a way to use his education to help his fellow former child soldiers and the meeting that was held in Gulu with the children under our program is the first step.
A meeting was held in Gulu attended by 17 of the children under our support and arranged by Anena Irene, our representative in the field. The meeting was the inspiration of three young men under our sponsorship who show amazing determination, patience and hard work, Charles, Joseph and Justin. The purpose of the meeting was to bring the children together to discuss their problems (see "Voices of the Children" comments by Moses) and to give them a sense that they are not alone although most of them are orphans with no support system. These young men are in touch with us weekly and their email letters are full of optimism and repeated expressions of gratitude for the opportunity we have provided. They ask for help with their homework, share their worries, indicate their needs and we try to respond in a helpful way as we would respond to our own children.
Mary spoke to the congregation of the United Church of Christ in Rockville Centre, New York and was received by an attentive and thoughtful congregation. Several parishioners donated money to the general fund and one couple has agreed to sponsor a child.
Mary traveled to Bellingham, Washington and spoke to three middle school classes taught by an amazing teacher, Stephanie Strow. She had worked during the entire school year to raise the consciousness of her students and sensitizing them to some of the problems in the world. Mary was invited to speak to them about the work that we are doing for the former child soldiers in northern Uganda. Their assigned reactions to the presentation of the murals and the story of the children's plights can be found in the feedback section of this site. If we worry about this generation of young people in our country, it is helpful to read some of what these concerned and sincere children have to say.