Matt Wertz: Processing Uganda

grace1

Posted 1.31.07 by Matt Wertz on his blog at mattwertz.com

Day 6 of tour is almost over. I’m tucked into bed, finally getting a chance to rest. I really am just now sitting down to reflect on my trip to Africa two weeks ago. Yeah, I went to Africa two weeks ago. My friend Barrett and I went to check out the Village of Hope. If that sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve been talking about it at my shows over the past year as i’ve promoted the Mocha Club. For those of y’all totally in the dark, the Mocha Club is a really cool idea that promotes giving up two mochas (or lattes or cappuccinos) a month and giving that money ($7) to Africa, and in this case, the Village of Hope. The Village of Hope is a safe place where women who were once sex slaves of the LRA (militant rebel group in Northern Uganda) are given a second chance at life. There are a total of 500 of these women who it is our goal to serve through the Village of Hope – some will live there and all will use the medical facility, the job training center, the school and all the other facilities – and the money that we are raising through the Mocha Club is doing just that.

One of the women that the Village of Hope is serving is named Grace (pictured below). I got to sit down with her as she told me her story. How she was abducted at 14, given to a 50 year old Commander in the LRA, gave birth to two children and then, at age 28 escaped, losing both of her children, one in crossfire and one to disease. She spoke in a daze, far removed from the room we were sitting in, as she recalled the fear and pain she experienced in her 14 years of captivity. She lost her childhood, as well as her opportunity to love and to be loved. The Village of Hope’s goal is to give those things back to her.

All I have to say is that this place is really phenomenal. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it is to see this vision becoming a reality. There is a gated fence around the village for safety, the first 14 native Acholi huts for the women are built, a fresh water well, and a job training center that is almost complete. There is also a bike rack FULL of bikes- which doesn’t sound like much, but actually is a dream come true for them, giving these girls pride and helping to establish confidence and independence.

I can’t wait to see you out on the tour. As you can see, we’re covering some SERIOUS ground. If your city isn’t listed yet, don’t worry, it will be. I’ve got a slammin band with me, and you know we’ll be playing the hits, and laughing a lot. I’m gonna be taking a ton of pictures, and blogging my tail off, so keep up with us, and i’ll see you real soon.This Mocha Club thing really works, and i really want you to be a part of it. Thanks for reading, and for not merely WAITING on the world to change.

Matt

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