Loss in Laroo

Life was better in the bush with the LRA.

So says Grace, a 25-year old who spent over 16 years as a child soldier in the Ugandan outback.

Whilst she admits that she’s at least found peace, she says that she didn’t struggle then as she does now.

Food and clothing was provided by their bush husbands. What wasn’t, was looted at will.

Trained to use a gun at nine, she gave birth to the first of her children at 14.

Grace only came back from the bush last year.

Her auntie refused to let her live with her, afraid the former rebel would kill her in her sleep.

She was given housing by World Vision.

But last week, her home burnt down. With it, all her belongings including her 260,000 of amnesty money and her only means of an income – her sewing machine.

She took me to the razed shell of her former home to see the skeleton of the Singer machine and her bicycle. Both were twisted and blackened from the blaze.

With the machine now useless, she now has to pound rocks eight hours a day in a local quarry to support her 3 kids.

She shows me her hands. Calloused, chapped and blistered they are.

She makes less than a dollar a day for the back-breaking work.

Third Hope Uganda, a local CBO, has thankfully taken up her cause. They’ve provided new lodging for her and her 3 children.

She was due some kindness.