Gulu, Uganda, 2004. Gulu Support the Children Organization, a reception center for former soldiers and “wives” of the Lord’s Resistance Army. This young girl allowed me to photograph her. Other girls laughed during our brief session. I wanted to reach out and talk to her but she was not talking. I think her posesaid it all. Heart breaking.
“Uganda, Gulu, 2004. Peace talks are going well and the general feeling is there will be an agreement between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda. The civil war has gone on for twenty or more years and thousands are dead and perhaps millions displaced. Fighting levels are low, Uganda is using helicopters with United States on-ground support to decimate the LRA. Meanwhile the numbers of ‘night walkers’ is down but there are still security issues. The biggest problem remains the least reported: the large Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDP) are overfilled and disease ridden. These photos are made in September 2004 at downtown Gulu, two IDP camps, a school for boys and GUSCO (Gulu Support the Children Organization). UPDATED: 2012. Unfortunately talks collapsed seven months later and to this day Joseph Kony and his LRA are on the run. Life in Northern Region, though, has returned to relative normal. ”
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. Pabbo Internally Displaced Persons camp, west of Gulu, is the largest IDP camp. People are relocated to these awful camps for security reasons.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. Pabbo Internally Displaced Persons camp. The camp’s population is increasing to about 50,000.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. Mothers, mostly teenagers wash dishes at GUSCO, the Gulu Support the Children Organization. GUSCO is a reception centre for people, again mostly teenagers, who manage to free themselves from their Lord’s Resistance Army captors.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. Central market area where “night commuters”, children walking from the outskirts to the Gulu central area, spend the night and wash in the morning.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. St Joseph’s College in nearby Layibi. The all boys school is seen as a safe place for children during this era of fear of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. GUSCO, the Gulu Support the Children Organization, is a reception area for children who manage to get away from the Lord’s Resistance Army. They are given a check up, medical care if needed, continue their schooling and are offered psychiatric assistance. They may stay for a few months and reintegrated to civil society who may or may not accept them.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. A class at the Gulu Support the Children Organization. GUSCO is made of mostly teenage boys and girls who escaped from the LRA. GUSCO offers education and pyschiatric services to reintegrate these people back into civil society.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. St Joseph’s College in Layibi. An all boys school founded by Italian missionaries stays open during the troubling times brought on by the existence of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. The Gulu Support the Children Organization helps children and young adults reintegrate into Ugandan civil society. Most of these people were abducted or otherwise forced into the Lord’s Resistance Army. I saw mostly young mothers with their children and teenage boys with missing limbs or vacant looks in their eyes. The stories I heard were horific: young girls being raped by soldiers; young boys being forced to kill their friends as a show of loyalty. We were not allowed to get names and who knows if the stories were true. They were very messed up kids. GUSCO did their best to help but it is clear they were underfunded.
Gulu, Uganda, 2004. Boys line up for supper at St Joseph’s College in Layibi. The boarding school has a high occupancy as parents seek safe shelter during the war with the Lord’s Resistance Army.