Isaiah and the War: When the fighting started, rebel forces came and took boys to be soldiers, although many didn’t make it to their destination. Others were rounded up into camps, which were congested, and because there was no proper hygiene, people were dying fast. Isaiah has two sisters, along with his Father and Mother – they had come back to the village to look for food, as his Father was getting frustrated at seeing them becoming sick, with nothing to eat, and nothing to sell.
His Father, when taken, had his hands tied behind his back, and was then given another very heavy load to carry on his head. They were tortured, and Isaiah spent two days in the bush hiding as saw no point in going back. With his Father never returning, he worried that he was so young, what could he do? As the elder brother he was responsible, but that meant being physically present – so he couldn’t go off to work in town. He decided to leave it to God, and started to find laboring work – budgeting on around 2000 Ugandan Schillings a day (about 50p), whilst some days there was no money, and therefore no food. The situation got so bad that the government started sending medical relief, including grains and beans, but no salt, soap or water treatments.
When the war is over Isaiah comes back, builds a hut, does some gardening – without tools or oxen, this was done with his hands. High on his priority list, however, was how to get his father’s bones back to the plot of land, as it wasn’t right to see him lying elsewhere. A coffin is about 70,000 Schillings (about £15.50), so he planted and sold cassava, borrowed a bike (well, we’ve seen what they carry on those), and went to purchase the coffin, and organized food for those who would help build the hole. The family was crying as it was the first time they had seen a dead body in the family. Isaiah prayed and completed his O-Levels. He planned and planted more crops so have enough for them and for the future, but life was still very hard. He doesn’t like to talk about it too often, as he often finds himself crying, and still dreams about the time.
He still looks after family , although 8 years ago he met Sara, and they have 4 children. They met whilst he was visiting an uncle in another village – where she lived – this was after the camps. He was inspired to look after the future of his family, and has now become a pastor.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.