Monday, August 22, 2011

Those Who Sit in Dark Dungeons

I lie on a 3" foam mattress. Comfortably warm with a sheet and soft blanket, two pillows and a mosquito net to protect me from catching malaria. I am awoken at 3 am from the sounds of Ramadan at the mosque nearby. Dogs bark.

And then I remember him.

I lay there in the dark thinking once again how I have so much while he has so little. Soft, warm bedding for me...a cold hard empty cell for him. Clothed in my soft pajamas my mom gave me for my birthday... he sleeps half naked on the stone cold ground, most likely orphaned by his own mother. I have security in knowing I can get up and fix something to eat should I grow hungry, he must wait until they bring him something.

Some of you will be shrewd enough to see this is not locked. I photographed
the lock while the boy was out. Later when I walked by and had no opportunity
to snap an image, it was re-locked. The boy was back inside.
We both sleep behind a locked door. 

But I have the keys to mine. I have chosen to be locked in. And I am an adult. He is a mere child.

This is "M" the prison for children in Uganda.

I knew I wouldn't have words right away. And now they come in the form of comparison in the middle of the night. I give up sleep to share with you what this teenage boy suffers at the same moment my fingers click over the keys of my laptop.

He is new to M. His welcome is to spend 3-4 weeks in solitary confinement. In a small cell with just one window about 9 feet up, he waits. Not permitted any clothes but a pair of pants he has to be cold. He is forced to sleep on the ground, no mattress or blanket is given. The sole thing in his cell is a covered bucket for his waste.
It was Sixty Feet who provided the covered bucket for waste. Before that it was an open basin.

I know.

I can't believe it either. Yet I was there. They let him out long enough for us to see inside his cell. I saw him walk unsteadily, disoriented and scared. He shuffled past me surrounded by others before I had the mental collectiveness to even say a hello or offer a smile.

Remember Simon from my last post? He was in this cell too. They had captured him from the streets of Kampala and taken him to M. He escaped.

I now understand his reticence to smile.

At this time, I cannot make any sense of this, only pain fills my heart. Please visit Sixty Feet's website to learn more. This is really happening, right here, right now. Please pray for the boy I saw today.

I am going to return to my pillow and cry.

God have mercy.

You will open the eyes of the blind.
   You will free the captives from prison,
      releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
 “I am the Lord; that is my name!"
                                                   Isaiah 42:7


  1. I'm searching for the right words... All I can do in this moment is weep for him... and pray. God have mercy indeed.

  2. Thank you for posting this. We need to hear about it. Bless you as you let the Lord transform you and your family.


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