Ik Awareness Day

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On Monday, Muigai boarded a tiny 8 seater plane (through Missionary Aviation Fellowship) to travel from Kampala to Kotido, a town in the Northern part of Uganda.  The majority of people who live in Kotido and the surrounding area are called the Karamajong.  After a very bumpy ride, he safely arrived in Kotido and was greeted by our local partner, Romano.
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Romano, center, addresses a group of Ik students
Romano is a very influential Karamajong man who has worked tirelessly to bring peace to his community.  The Karamajong consist of 5 subgroups who have engaged in conflict and cattle raiding over the past several years.   In the past two years, there has been a significant reduction in cattle raiding and an increasing sense of peace and security in the region.
Romano is also the person who started a sponsorship program for Ik children, which MCC has supported for the past several years.

After arrival on Monday, Muigai was able to witness a traditional disciplinary meeting in one of the communities.  Several young men had been caught stealing cattle from another group and were being disciplined according to their tradition.  Among other things, the young men had to buy beer for everyone and offer goats to be slaughtered and eaten.

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The men of the community gather with long sticks for the meeting

On Tuesday, there was a ceremony for Ik Awareness Day, which was the main focus of Muigai’s visit.  This program was in a town called Kaabong, about an hour north of Kotido.  Every year, MCC sponsors an event to raise awareness about this marginalized group.  The day began with a march through the town, and then a meeting with several speeches.

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The Ik students march through the town

Muigai enjoyed getting a chance to catch up with the Ik students we had met in Kampala, but was disappointed to learn that most of the children who had taken their senior 6 exams had not done well.  The results of this exam is the sole determinant in whether the students will get a place in a public University.  Although several of our students are bright and had performed very well in school, the schools in that region struggle with a lack of resources which makes it difficult for them to compete with students in schools in other parts of Uganda which have more resources.  Many of the students were very discouraged and we are not sure what their next step will be

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