Saying good bye to an incredible woman

margaret
Sister Margaret Aceng was a friend, advisor, and inspiration to all of us at MCC Uganda.  Tragically, on September 18 she collapsed and passed away from a cerebral embolism.

It’s hard to even describe the kind of person Sister Margaret was – she was someone whose presence exuded life, vitality, faith, and a deep sense of compassion for her people.  Born in Northern Uganda, she lived through the 20 year civil war (the LRA war) and witnessed the depth of suffering and trauma that her people endured.  Determined to use her skills to bring change, Sister Margaret pursued a Masters Degree in counseling and in 2004 launched a counseling center in Gulu called Caritas Counseling Center to provide counseling and trauma healing to former child soldiers, parents whose children had been abducted, women who had been abducted and sexually abused by the LRA, and ex-rebels. She was currently serving as the Dean of Students at Gulu University.

Muigai traveled to Gulu to attend her funeral and burial on the 22nd.  Unfortunately, Nathan and I had been sick over the weekend and couldn’t make the bumpy six hour trip to Gulu.  Muigai said there were easily over 3000 people in attendance – the largest cathedral in Gulu was completely packed, and hundreds of people were sitting outside.  The University community had cancelled all of its classes for the day so students and faculty could attend the burial.  Sister Margaret was a woman who had touched the lives of many, many people and the overwhelming attendance at her funeral was a testimony to that.

funeral

Crowds of people gathered outside of the packed cathedral for Sister Margaret’s funeral

Sister Margaret was a current member of our MCC Uganda advisory board and had been serving as an advisor for six years.  Her contribution and insights were integral in shaping the course of our programs and projects in MCC.  She was always able to offer us and previous Representatives key insights into the context and issues affecting Gulu and the surrounding areas, and her counsel was often sought after and highly influential in our program.

Apart from being an advisor, Sister Margaret was also a friend to all of us at MCC.  She always made an effort to get to know our volunteers in the North, and was quick to offer a listening ear and support in any way that she could.  She always brought a spirit of faith and personal encouragement to our advisory committee meetings, and her presence there was always an encouragement and a blessing to us and the rest of the advisory committee.

We were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Sister Margaret’s sudden passing.  Her positive spirit, selfless dedication, and deep sense of commitment to her faith and her people is not something that can be easily found or replaced.  Her passing will leave a huge gap in our advisory committee and our Uganda program, and she will be terribly missed.

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