How about a 10K walk before breakfast?
July 7, 2005 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Gulu Walk. Aiming to increase awareness about the Night Commuters of Northern Uganda, some Canadians have started a month long series of nightly walks from their homes into the city to sleep. The Night Commuters are children from rural areas near Gulu who must travel into the city each night to remain safe from kidnappers in the countryside.
posted by jacquilynne (16 comments total)
I'm sure there will be those who look upon this Canadian endeavour as piecemeal wankery or be unmoved by the Gulu story due to desensitization from the kaleidoscope of sad visions that seem to come out of Africa. But I think those 2 guys are at least raising awareness and getting press for the region and deserve our respect and praise. (And to drop a line of encouragement: )

As for Gulu itself ..."Jennifer and Susan sang a marching song. "People in Gulu are suffering. Education is poor. Communication is poor. There are no more virgins in Gulu," the girls sang sweetly in English. "They were all raped. Hear us now: There are no more virgins in Gulu." The children are called simply "the night commuters." "

Oy. :- Thank you jacquilynne. A necessary and sad heads up.
posted by peacay at 11:17 AM on July 7, 2005

A lot more effective at raising my awareness than a big concert. Thanks for the link jacquilynne.
posted by arse_hat at 12:10 PM on July 7, 2005

A very sad and moving post - and a cause very worthy of donations. Thanks for pointing this out jacquilynne.
posted by rks404 at 12:59 PM on July 7, 2005

I guess it's been said above. This is a really good post-- one I'll send around to my friends.

Thank you!
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:00 PM on July 7, 2005

I read these stories - and others like out of the Congo - and I am so saddened and enraged the pit of my stomach is in knots.

What is done to the children of this world by these sick sorry excuses for human beings I can't get my head around it.

At times I catch my self thinking that every male over the age of 14 in Africa should just die... just go lay down and die and rot and be forgotten... and let the children and women start over again.

Sigh. There has to be more we can do.
posted by tkchrist at 1:35 PM on July 7, 2005

Thank you for those links
posted by darsh at 2:27 PM on July 7, 2005

Sorry - meant to add: this is happening to kids in war-torn areas all over Africa, such as Congo, Sierra Leone. Uganda's conflict, though, is certainly the longest running, and seemingly the most ignored by the rest of the world.
posted by darsh at 2:35 PM on July 7, 2005

Thank you for posting this jacquilynne. I had heard about the 'night commuters' but didn't know about the walk to raise awareness in my own city.

That children are forced to live like this... I can't understand it. It makes me feel sick as do many stories from the South.
posted by madokachan at 9:30 PM on July 7, 2005

thanks for that!

it may have been peacay him/herself who told me to start a new thread when i mentioned that there were other horrible things unreported, aside from the London bombings.

this was actually close to my first choice - have a friend working in Uganda with a NGO/charity, so this story is of personal interest. :)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:20 AM on July 8, 2005

(oh, um, not that i knew anything about the canadians...just the my version of the story would have kinda sucked...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:22 AM on July 8, 2005

Actually, your version of the story would probably have been better. Ever since I posted it, I've been thinking that I framed it badly. Clearly, the important thing here is the Ugandans, not the Canadians, yet I put the Canadians front and center. The thing is, though, that it was the Canadians and their nightly walk for awareness that made me aware of the issue, so that's sort of the context in which I was thinking about it.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:48 AM on July 8, 2005

I’m a Canadian living in Uganda, so this was interesting, as news of the GuluWalk hadn't actually reached Uganda. Night commuters are actually declining in number but this is still an admirable endeavour. I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope they are being incredibly vigilant about who they are giving the money to and how it will be used by the recipients. Myself and four other Canadians raised about 30 000 dollars for night commuter centres last year; the 15 drainable toilets we gave a night commuter centre never got installed and are being used as a jungle gym by the kids; another centre we donated a fence to closed down three months later because they lost their UNICEF funding. There are a few individuals up there who are well known in the community for fleecing foreign donors. I hope they are working with someone local and neutral and reliable who will help prevent their efforts from going to waste. (Although awareness raising always helps.)
posted by Kololo at 5:05 AM on July 8, 2005

Have you considered sending that warning to them, Kololo? With more specific details, mind you, so that they know who to avoid?
posted by jacquilynne at 5:10 AM on July 8, 2005

They seem to be donating to CPAR (Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief) and AMREF (African Medical & Research Foundation) which are organizations that, from what I understand, are quite well respected. Well, I'm more familiar with CPAR but I hope AMREF works along the same lines. I too hope that the money will be used wisely. I have seen far too many poorly run CIDA projects (sorry CIDA) and others.
posted by madokachan at 6:41 AM on July 8, 2005

This is a great idea.
posted by OmieWise at 2:46 PM on July 9, 2005

jacquilynne, no - your version of the story was nice. i *heart* canucks already for so many reasons - like maple syrup - and this has just added to it.

anybody wanting to donate to MSF (Medicins Sans Frontiers, yeh?) will be doing something to help these people. that is, the ugandans, not the canucks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 AM on July 10, 2005

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