Gulu, Uganda

Offline for a week spent under mosquito nets, swinging in hammocks in a pitch dark mud hut in Northern Uganda. We spent time with formerly abducted young women. Most were used as mules, wives or sex slaves by the top commanders in L.R.A whilst hidden in Southern Sudan. This was before they were flushed out and fled to the DRC where they now hide-out. The interviews conducted here were nothing short of extraordinary. We spent the week listening and recording stories of incredible hardship softly spoken from some of the strongest women I have ever met. The Childvoice International centre provided us with a perfect nurturing environment where questions submitted by our reporter Heidi could be answered in confidence with support. As I have mentioned here before, our sojourn into Africa would priovide us with a testing ground for our principled approach to journalism and documetnary making, where we put the emotional integrity of our subjects before anything else. What we found here re-affirms our commitment to pursuing an approach where the recording the stories we find here would not entail the manipulation of the storytellers. We have heard stories where this has happened here before, where the tears of the African weakest have been used to pursue a means to satisfy a hunger for the linear narrative. Every interviewee we have spoken to so far I have felt that our persistence in our approach has paid off.

We are in Gulu now, back in a dusty town with sit-down toilets and warm-(ish) showers. We are trying to set up an interview with Unicef in Kampala, where we are to travel tomorrow morning. This has proven difficult as the Afrian Union Summit has heightened security around Kampala and thus the doors to orginizations have been closed on the very days we are set to arrive. We will keep trying.

I crave my mothers cooking.