Saturday morning, while on the road to Jinja, we had the radio tuned to the BBC. We were listening when the report was made of hostages being taken in the western Darfur region of Sudan. The woman whose vehicle we were riding in used to work for Goal, the same NGO the two hostages were working for, and she was concerned that the Ugandan hostage might be someone she knew, so she make a phone call to find out. It was not someone she really knew; however, they had been involved together with a project a few years ago. I only knew one person from Uganda in Darfur, and she had just been in Kampala for a visit.
Well, the one person I knew is the Ugandan woman who was kidnapped. I didn’t really think much more about the hostages being taken over the weekend until I reached school Monday morning and ran into the woman’s mother, who is the care-giver to the grandson when her daughter is working in Darfur. I see the child’s grandmother on an almost daily basis, and she was obviously troubled. I greeted her as usual with a “Good morning,” and a “How are you?” and she came back with a summary of her nightmare of a weekend. I was stunned.
True, I don’t really know the woman who was kidnapped very well. She was in town a of weeks ago and I did have a chance to speak to her once. However, I have become pretty attached to her 3-year-old son… and I often find him attached to me—tightly gripping my leg as I try to walk around the playground. He was a very timid little 2-and-a-half-year-old when he started the nursery class last September, always hiding in his teacher’s long skirts from the other children and teachers. I kind of made it my mission to help him become more comfortable at school and made an effort to always talk to him and try to get him to play with the other children. Now, he is quite confident, loves to be at school and plays with the other children. When he sees me, he always gives a high-pitched squeal, runs to me and latches on to my leg, and sometimes I need assistance from his teacher to get home off.
This is the latest article my google search produced on the situation. There are not many details being revealed. Maybe that’s a good thing. Considering the history of hostages taken in the Darfur area, I’m optimistic… I hope I have a reason to be.