Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.
My Journey to the Gulu District, Uganda

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, from the pictures you will see below you will begin to realize the extent of the need of the people of the Paduny parish. In July of 2010, I visited them and my heart was broken. The Paduny people crowded around me and asked me why they had been forgotten when their needs are so great. I responded that I did not forget about them and that is why I wrote the book "The Gnawing Thoughts" and founded Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.

Paduny has no secure water source, a parish of 4,600 people, and the natural sources of water within the parish are drying up. The well in the picture you will see below is an example of the water they are drinking now. The Paduny people need health care, the most reliable source of care is the Gulu Referral Hospital 30 Km away in Gulu city, and you will see the condition of this hospital in the pictures below. The sick must get there by walking, bicycling, or as many do, on the back of a motorcycle over rough and unmaintained roads. The Paduny people are in need of education, but children must walk long distances to schools that are understaffed and poorly equipped. The Paduny people need a sustainable economy, prior to Idi Amin and the war with the LRA the locals made a sustainable living through agriculture and local markets, they need help in re-establishing those markets.

As you look through these pictures, please think about the people of Paduny and wonder why they are left uncared for. Please let them know they are not forgotten and help them now. Please donate money, materials, or volunteer. Please click the DONATE button now or click the CONTACT US button to request more information.

Thank you,

Hida Jessie Piersma
Founder and President Lanekatuk Memorial, Inc.
A wary child hangs close to his mother in an IDP camp in the Gulu district. Children in the camps are often targeted by sexual predators or abused by other children or camp members.
Those still living in the IDP camps do so as a last resort. Most have no family or home to return to, nor money to pay rent in the towns and cities. They fear for their future as the government and land owners push them to leave.
Children are often left alone during the week while the parents seek work and the children remain in the camps to attend school.
This women cooks maize to sell in a desperate attempt to raise enough money to feed her children and pay the 10,000 Uganda shillings in rent to remain in the camp. That is roughly five U.S. dollars.
Pounding rock in a quarry is a common way to raise money for many. This woman will have to break many bushels of rock to even get enough money for a single meal.
This is the home of a family that recently returned from one of the IDP camps. While they found the house in considerable disrepair, they consider themselves lucky to have a home to return to.
Many children do not receive a balanced diet and suffer from malnutrition. Often, when food is short, it is the children who go without. Many children die from lack of readily available medical attention and poor sanitation. Unable to afford diapers, many young children are left to run nude.
Riverbeds are a vital source of water. They refill during the rainy season but often dry out during the summers, forcing people to travel further distances from their settlements.
This hand-dug well had been abandoned for nearly twelve years but now serves as the only water source for several returned families of Paduny. Many northern Ugandans suffer from water born diseases, parasites, and worms.
A section of the Awach Stream. Normally in July the stream would be overflowing, but the locals say the land is changing and many wells and streams are drying up. There is no secure water source within the Paduny parish, a parish of 4,600 people, according to the Local Council.
These fortunate children play at a borehole, rehabilitated by the Rotary International, near Gulu city. A reliable source of clean water is vital in maintaining a functioning and sustainable community.
For those who can afford them, bicycles are a commonly used form of transportation. Because cars are expensive to hire, many hire motorcycle drivers called "boda boda."
While the rains bring desperately needed water, it also plays havoc with the road system and many go unrepaired.
A government school room in northern Uganda. While eager to learn resources are scarce. Desks and chairs are rationed. Often, the teacher has the only books or must teach from memory.
These seniors are using the few available desks the school has been rationed. Some communities collect money to pay the teachers' salaries.
People crowd into the outpatient pharmacy at the Gulu Referal Hospital in Gulu city. Lack of drugs and medical supplies are a common occurance at the district level and below.
Newly admitted patients at Gulu Hospital. Within government health centers the staff limits themselves to medical procedures. The patient's families are expected to provide linen and personal care.
Patient's families camp outside of Gulu Hospital. The patient's families are expected to provide food, linen, and personal care.
This woman lies on a bed covered in plastic. She is in labor and will soon give birth. While care is limited by American standards, the Gulu Hospital is the best staffed and equipped government health care center in the district.
This woman has just given birth. Most births are performed by mid-wives. Many local births performed outside of the health centers are performed by traditional mid-wives who may have no formal medical training. If there are complications, often mother and infant both die.
A crib in the Pediatric Unit. Gulu Hospital was built in the 1940s and still has much of the original equipment. The only other health center in the district is in Awach. The Awach Hospital is in considerable disrepair as a result of war and lack of funds.
Hida Jessie Piersma outside of the Awach Sub-County local government offices. Most land issues are delt with at the sub-county level.
Hida Jessie Piersma meeting with the Awach sub-chief, Mr. Okene Paul and his assistants and other guests to discuss the organizations proposed projects. She was received warmly and all are eager to cooperate.
Hida Jessie Piersma meeting with the Paduny parish LC1, Mr. Akot Francis and other concerned community members.
Hida Jessie Piersma in the back row with her hands raised. Many people tell her that they have been desperately waiting for someone like her to come and help them. It is not that the people are not willing, they simply do not know where to begin.
A woman holds up a tilapia in the Gulu open market. For those near Uganda's major lakes tilapia is a major food and income source. Dropping lake levels and over fishing threatens this resource.
The open market in Gulu city. Prior to Idi Amin and the war with the LRA markets similiar to this were a primary source of income for Acholi families in the region. Re-establishing these local markets will play a vital role in creating a sustainable economy.
For a visitor to Kampala, who would see a view similar to this from their hotel room, it would be difficult to imagine the suffering and poverty that lies 300 Km to the north.
All pictures Copyright 2010 Hida Jessie Piersma.