Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Running on Empty
As quickly as I get news posted around here, it changes. This week on the news, there have been snippets of information of rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo withdrawing from Goma, and I was so relieved. Unfortunately, the talks that they were hoping to instigate with the withdrawal haven't happened, and the rebels, once again, are on the move, into Goma. At the same time, the U.N. is preparing to withdraw troops. This is a horrific turn of events. At times I'm thankful that our news coverage here is so sporadic and shallow and yet, I know, regardless of who is watching, this is going on.
What this means is that the children and care workers in the DRC, along with so many others that live there, are on the run. Rebels come in and indiscriminately beat, rape, and kill anyone in their path. They steal anything of negligible value and burn whatever is left. In the village of Luhonga, the care workers have begun feeding children and caring for them. The children in these areas are traumatized, orphaned, and live in constant fear. Their darkest fears often become reality as is the case right now. Rebels come without warning and people literally flee. Families are separated, children are lost, parents are killed and grandmothers hide. Imagine your family running for their very lives with little warning, empty stomachs, bare feet and no safe place to run or return to.
My friend, Lynn, tells the story of arriving at the home of a gogo (grandmother) in Luhonga and when a small boy she had taken in, opened the door, he immediately began to run into the forest. Filled with fear and traumatized, he saw strangers and fled. One of the care workers chased him down and brought him back but the whole visit, he was unable to catch his breath and sat, ready to run again, at the slightest provacation. These children have lived with such horror and trauma that all they know is to run.
I'm attaching a link to the Hands at Work Flickr stream. 10 Photos. Please take a moment and scroll through these photos and remember these in the coming days. They're running from the rebels. And there's no safe place for them to run.
Here are a few organizations that are on the ground in Goma that you can send a donation to help. By some reports, even aid workers and agencies are either behind locked doors or have left the area in an effort to regroup safely.