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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.