There she was, this woman who was only an 8-year-old girl when she was abducted by the LRA. This woman who had lived in the bush for the majority of her existence. This woman who has shared a bed and two children with one of the world’s most hunted men. And there she was, just sitting on a wooden stool in a tiny brick room smiling as she put rolls of dough into a boiling pot of oil. The insanity and complexity of her background combined with the simplicity of the moment made her all the more breath taking to me.
Her name is Rose and today she is a 24-year-old mother of two little girls and a Child Voice graduate. She works for a very sweet couple that owns a bakery in Gulu. This couple had nothing but good things to say about Rose and her hard work. She bakes over 1,000 doughnuts a day and sells a dozen for 1,200 shillings (50 cents).
Rose was one of the Child Voice graduates to receive a micro loan. Her hope had been to open her own bakery, but she took two jobs to pay off the loan in a hurry and didn’t end up using it to start her own business. Conrad, Winnie, Megan, and I sat with Rose outside her place of work as she opened up about her life. She told us that she’s happy and enjoys the work she is doing. She hopes to save up enough money to purchase a hut of her own and get another loan to buy an oven for herself so she could sustain her own business. She is earning enough money to pay for her daughter’s school fees all on her own. She repeatedly remarked how thankful she was that Child Voice gave her the skills to help her stand on her own two feet. She couldn’t describe how much it meant to not have to beg for money to send her children to school.
Rose’s children are living with her parents until she can pay for a place for them all to live. Rose told us that the situation at home is not good. She visits her girls on Sundays after church, but is anxious to have them with her again. Please pray that Rose’s business continues to flourish and that she can start a home with her children soon.
Rose is our age and has faced far greater challenges in life than we probably ever will. I’m sure her journey will continue to be full of them, but it was amazing for me to witness the difference this program had made in her life and see that she is equipped with the faith, determination, and skill set to push through whatever comes her way.
*Rose was abducted by the LRA in 1996 when she was only 8. During her time in the bush, she was selected to be one of Joseph Kony’s wives. Kony keeps about 30 wives and 10 “senior wives” (his favorites). Rose and another senior wife, Lilly, were captured in the Congo in 2010 by the military. Child Voice was contacted and both girls entered their program. The girls remain close friends and room mates to this day