Update, October 2008
October 1, 2008
Upon reaching Tororo, Uganda, the RMF team was greeted by Srs. Clare and Margaret, Franciscan sisters working at the Mama Kevina Comprehensive Secondary School in Tororo, Uganda. The student population at Mama Kevina is mostly from Northern Uganda where the children have been affected by the ongoing wars, floods and HIV/AIDS. Many of the students' parents were slaughtered by rebels or killed by AIDS and left as orphans. Two of the boys were forced to be children soldiers.
Srs. Clare and Margaret and other Franciscans provided aid relief at the temporary Kenyan refugee camp, Mulanda Transit Center on the outskirts of Tororo. Refugees started coming to the transit center in January, and continued to arrive almost daily through the beginning of May. The RMF team arrived in Tororo in April 2008 to provide training in acupuncture protocols for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Upon arrival Sr. Clare introduced Charles Naku, a Young Franciscan and HIV/AIDS counselor. Charles was instrumental in navigating the RMF team around the refugee camp, making the necessary introductions and dispelling misconceptions regarding the training program.
During the training 21 Kenyan refugees with a health care background were trained in protocols for PTSD and over 500 patients ranging in age from 2 to 77 were treated by trainees during clinically supervised treatment sessions. The day after the trainees graduated from the training, the entire camp began packing their tents. The following day trucks and buses arrived to transport the refugees to their permanent home, Kiryadongo, in the Masindi district of Uganda. Prior to the relocation, Charles was selected as the local Ugandan Project Coordinator. Having spent months counseling at the refugee camp and participating in the acupuncture training provided at Mama Kevina, Charles was well qualified to assume the responsibilities of coordinating and supervising the ongoing acupuncture treatments at the new location in Kiryadongo.
Once the refugees were relocated the NGOs that had been supporting the refugees at the Mulanda Transit Center withdrew their material and human resource support leaving RMF as the sole NGO supporting the Kenyan refugees in Kiryadongo.