Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lormoruchbae's ongoing struggle

Well, I've just gotten back from Lormoruchbae. I'd heard word last week that UWA (Uganda Wildlife Association) had been to the new village they were building and tried to force them off the land.  Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that there has been an ongoing battle (example here) and clearly it is not over yet. We thought we had reached some resolution and the president had made some pronouncements and our people are not living in the national park. But they came and held village leaders (and my friend Mary!) at gun point while they tore apart months of hard work.

They ripped the grass off as high as they could reach. 
They broke the supports on this roof. 
They tore the roof off and broke pieces off. 
I know these don't actually look like much but all these sticks are tied when they are green and soft so now that they are dried it will be much harder (and weaker) to tie back together. And if they move, it will all have to be carried, by hand and on their heads, to another site. And rainy season is here so now it is too late to build again. They will have to wait until the next dry season. And all of these sticks and grass will have to be kept from rotting and being eaten by termites.
They had begun opening the ground for their fields (hours of hoeing by hand) and they have been told if they use those fields they will come back and torch the plants. So they are quickly trying to open land in other places but now is the time for seeds already so germination will be late. If the dry season comes too early it could mean another year of poor harvest. It makes me want to weep just considering it.
My temporary house was pushed over. (The ladies put it back up for me.) Worse, I had begun to use metal poles in place of sticks on my "permanent" house and UWA took them all. Also they took down the fence I had put around some fruit trees and pineapple bushes and took it with them. Truthfully, my purpose in building a house was mostly to build relationships and work together with the ladies. So for me starting over just means more time to work with them. But my heart goes out to these guys. They work so hard. They have so few resources. Why would UWA do this?!

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