IDP Camps

Trip Start Jul 02, 2006
Trip End Aug 30, 2006

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Flag of Uganda  ,
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So, some people have asked if we actually have gotten any work done. We haven't written about our work before because it is kind of depressing and repetitive. But, for those who want to know, we've gotten about 60 surveys filled out.

Our study has changed a bit. The Museveni government is trying to get people to resettle in their villages because they feel that it is now safe for them to return to their homes without the threat of the LRA. As such, many of the IDP camps in the area have been decongested. Instead of looking at the prevalence of drinking and it's impact on HIV/AIDS transmission rates in the IDP camps alone, we are comparing the habits of those in the camps and those recently returned to the living in local village. The worry now is that the IDPs that had been living in the camps will continue their drinking and sexual habits in the village, making the prevalence of HIV/AIDS even higher.

The consensus of those that we have talked to in both the camps and the villages, however, is that it is not safe for them to return. In the region we are studying (Teso region), many people fled to the camps not only because of the LRA, but also of the neighboring Karamjong people. These people cattle raid, steal, rape, and all the other bad stuff. But, the government has not yest addressed or acknowledged these issues.

We have talked to many HIV positive people and have heard many of their heart-breaking stories. Many of them are widowed and worry about the future of their children once they die. Some of them were raped and that is how they contracted the disease. At the same time, we've seen some of the effects the LRA had in the region. Insurgency was high in Soroti and neghboring areas in 2003-2005. In one village we went to, they abducted over 2,000 children. We have met many formerly abducted children who have been undergoing counseling, and have talked to many people who have lost their families. One woman we interviewed started crying when she told us of how her brother's eyes were cut out, and how he was burned alive in front of her. Not only that but her two children were also taken from her and they have not yet returned.

We work every day from 9AM to about 6PM. By the time we get back, we have a 50/50 chance of having power. If we do have power, we try to make dinner (usually consisting of fruit, chipati/bread, tomatoes, and avocados) and try to shower with the three streams of water that come out of our bathroom faucet. It's either that or eat at a neighborhood restaurant that serves goat stew and matoke (mushed up plaintains) or rice and beans. Mmmm.....
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hardbebopper on

goat stew and plaintains
hey, that sounds great to me! the trendy cuban restaurants in san francisco charge a fortune for exotic dishes like that. but of course i get to come home to power and a nice hot shower!
what is going on there sounds horrible. are the rebels not as active now or is the government's plan to relocate people back to their villages a bad idea?
by the way, re how your study has changed, how can you learn what the people do after they return to their villages without actually going there? this is one father who thinks that would be way too dangerous for two medical students from boston!

nicoleandfaye on

Re: goat stew and plaintains
hey james! can't believe you learned how to post on our website. i swear it was just last year that you didnt know how to even turn the computer on :) yes, it would be rather hard to do that type of research without going to the villages, which is why we have been going to them....and yes, before you ask, we're being safe!

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