(above: July 2011, Auma performing a dance with her Primary 1 Level classmates)
I met Auma Lukia early last February. She is one of the 25 children we started during the first term of the 2011 school year, as part of the Plant:Uganda/Sojourn’s FDM. Auma had been living in Kampala for a year or two, she had been brought in from the village by a family that had her working as a house girl. Although she was 12 years old, Auma had never been to school before. She spoke next to no English (the official language in Uganda and only language used in schools) and could not read or write at all; but she wanted it so badly. People were hesitant saying, “she is such a big girl, going to Primary 1, she…she just can’t do that”. I still remember the joy on her face as she explained that she didn’t care what people said, she wanted to go to school, she wanted to learn. I have admired Auma very much, ever since that day.
Last year Auma worked her butt off and finished in the top half of her class. She was the biggest student in her grade, but it never fazed her, she was just so happy to be in school. Every time you see this girl she has a huge grin on her face.
I wish I were telling you about Auma to simply have you celebrate this beautiful girl, her drive to succeed, her hope for something more. Sadly, Auma Lukia is missing. She left her home on Sunday afternoon and hasn’t returned. We feel certain the family Auma lives with is not being honest with us about the situation. They’ve told us she ran away with an older man. They delayed in telling us about any of it and then only went to the police after being forcefully encouraged by some Sojourn folks. One young girl told us Auma wanted to leave because she was mistreated and abused (verbally, mostly) in that home. One of the guys from Besweri’s Community Group thought he saw her in a neighboring parish. B-Dubs and some of the guys were going to go looking for her tonight. Since Tuesday the people of Sojourn have been praying for this young girl and over the whole situation. We have tried to get word out that she can come to us, we will welcome her with love and grace and do what whatever needs to be done to find this sweet girl a place to call home.
My heartaches thinking of Auma out there somewhere, lost, alone, scared.
Tonight at the end of our discipleship group, as we prepared to pray, we were talking about Auma. I was saying to the girls…..you may not always have the best situations at home, but at least you have some family, you have people you know care about you and would miss you and look for you if you were gone. This poor girl has no one. At least, right now she thinks she has no one.
Please join us in prayer that Auma Lukia would be found safe. Pray that truth would prevail amidst muddle of deception. Pray that the people of Sojourn would have the opportunity and privilege to show this girl what it means to be loved, cared for and looked after.
(Above: 2 weeks ago, Auma during an FDM kids meeting at Sojourn)