Esther and Eunice, GLA missionaries in Karamoja during a community outreach in Lotirir Village


Let me start by saying that I look forward to serving for a long time as pioneer missionary; it is something I have felt called to do for some time! It is thus with this commitment clear in my mind that I accepted this call to serve for one year at this place that the Lord through GLA posted me for a year. I’ve been here for three months now. The greatest achievement I can count so far is what I think I have seen and possibly learnt about the Karimojong through observation, from one-to-one conversations and through questionnaires.  I am posted to operate as a laboratory assistant in Lotirir Health Centre II and thus I’ve had opportunity to interact with the locals.

Karimojong are a beautiful community with a very colorful culture, yet it also a community in need of liberation from deep spiritual darkness! In some ways it seems that many in the community are totally lost and in deep spiritual darkness, strongly bonded and embedded in their good and evil cultural practices and traditions. They worship their gods in shrines. They do sacrifices to appease the spirits and as a means to get forgiveness from the elders when one has done something termed as sin. The girls get married without their consent as long as a man is available ready to pay enough cows worth her price. Very few are learned and generally no big difference between the learned and the non-educated. Mainly because their problem is not education as per say but like all men everywhere the problem is sin and the need for savior!

This community has only one farming season where they plant maize, sorghum and sunflower. This happens between March and September. After harvesting, they feed on this harvest until the next harvesting season. During the harvest period the major business that happens is preparation of the local brew (Ngaguwe), selling and drinking. This means that the whole community (breastfeeding to the elderly) feed on this local brew. It is as if no other food is existed apart from Ngaguwe. This drink happens to be very strong and thus everyone who takes it is always drunk (young or old). Am convinced that this is not actually their major problem but sin and they need a savior.

By mere observation, the Karimajong community in Lotirir do not smoke. But what is hidden from outward capture is the small containers where they carry tobacco. This is taken through nasal inhalation mainly by men and women. Many in the community are truly addicted to tobacco but that’s not their major problem but its sin and they are in need of a savior.

As a normal human being, walking through the villages (Manyatta’s of a whole clan enclosed by a single fence and each households Manyatta separated from the other by an interior fence) would expect to find the usual components of a complete homestead. One of these is latrine. This community does not have latrines. Even when taught how to construct one, they don’t know how to use them. They direct the human waste anywhere on the open ground. The air in this place is always odoured. One might wonder “how then can they be helped?” If the gospel was there and in effect in their lives they would have understood SHALOM (WHOLESOMENESS) and thus I insist their problem is not latrine or inability to utilize them but sin and are in need of a savior.

Hospital records and the results of the questionnaire survey indicated a very high prevalence of malaria, (8 out of 10 treated people are diagnosed with malaria). Watching keenly at their Manyatta’s are mosquito nets made into strings for fastening the sticks of the houses and fence together. It’s a huge challenge that as the facility we intend to focus on education and treatment outreaches. Many organizations have come and dealt with this and many other diseases but the solution is not yet found. I would imagine such a community enlightened with the gospel like most of us and realizing the beauty of prevention is better than cure and so their problem remains sin and they are in need of a savior.

Hygiene is very poor. In fact they rarely bathe. Neither do they wear shoes. Actually men (older ones and young boys) just apply lesu on their body. Women try their best to make skirts out of the same lesu’s. The tragedy is these lesu’s for men and skirts for women are worn without being washed until they are rendered non-usable. I’ve not witnessed utensils used in Ngaguwe preparation being washed. Neither the containers used for storing and drinking. Thus the cases of diarrhea are very prevalent. And so I ask “how can they learn how to prioritize, appreciate and practice personal hygiene, isn’t the solution found in the light of the gospel?” and so I re-echo that their problem is sin and are in need of a savior.

Any one of us who proclaim Christ as the Lord and Savior would agree with me in the fact that “the gospel has power to save individuals and to bring wholesome transformation to individuals and communities.” Am not trying to be ignorant of these very immediate needs of this community but am just pointing out the real urgent (emergency case) problem. And as believers we have the solution right in our hearts, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

If you are there enjoying the comfort of worshiping the one true God, strongly believing that the greatest problem of humankind is sin, acknowledging Jesus Christ as the final sacrifice for the atonement of sin, offering your body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12: 1b), enjoying the comfort of basic requirements of a complete homestead (latrine), enjoying the knowledge and wisdom from God on how to take care of your body and to stay clean, healthy and well dressed, if you really bless God that He saved you from any forms of addiction and the world, I have a charge for you. Christ Jesus left His glories above to come and experience our life so that He may save us. He showed and modeled an unconditional love for the lost and frequently affirmed “the son of man came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10).” The Karamajong need to hear this truth. We thus need to arise brethren from our comfort zone and join other men and women who are reaching these people and other tribes with the gospel, if you can’t Go, get on your knees and intercede for these communities asking the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers to the harvest filed that is very plentiful (Matthew 9: 37-38) and as you pray channel your resources for the support of this great and noble task (financial support) for the work of the kingdom is funded by gospel minded people.

ROMANS 5:16-18 “again the gift of God is not like the result of the man’s sin: the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses brought justification. For, if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

Jesus Christ is the only way to the father. The only solution to sin and all human problems that springs as the consequence of sin. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them I the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).”