Below is a chapter from my book “One of Us: Sex, violence, injustice. Resilience, love, hope.”
Day 272 since the incident: Friday, August 5, 2011
Pader, Northern Uganda
On Friday, August 5th, I walked 15 minutes to the school to see the Senior 4 students. The majority of them stay in two side by side dorm rooms. I went inside the first and the girls happily greeted me. We talked about them sitting for exams next term and when they would go home for holiday.
They know my time is coming soon to leave Uganda since my 27 month service is quickly closing. What they don’t know is that I may have to go back to the states for trial and life plan “E” is the possibility of having to stay stateside afterwards. With that looming overhead, I didn’t know if this would be my last time to see them or not. Juliet, our head girl, came out of her separate room and sat down beside me.
“Cindy, (as the majority of them never say Sandi) when are you leaving us?” asked Juliet.
“In September, but I have to go back for a little over a week.”
“Eh! You are always coming and going! Why must you go in August? Last time you left, they said you were sick.”
“Well, I have to take care of some business.” She wasn’t very satisfied with my answer. I hadn’t disclosed with any students what had happened but now that I would be leaving I thought the risk of sharing a small idea of what happened wasn’t as great.
“I have to go testify in a trial.”
“Cindy! What did you do!!”
“I didn’t do anything, Juliet. I am going to testify against someone else.”
“Eh! Sorry. I hope he did not hurt you!”
But he did. I quietly said that the man was violent during a bad incident. I said how he was looking at a possible 60 years in prison for his actions against me.
“You want him to rot in jail the rest of his life? Oh, Cindy, you must forgive him!”
Juliet is an interesting one. She is the former “wife” of Joseph Kony, rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. For her to say that I just needed to forgive him, after her story includes abduction and forced sex slavery to a rebel commander leading to a still born child, made me intrigued by her answer. Continue reading