As SOON as Aunt learned Girl was gone, SHE bought a taxi ride to Sudan.
Doug, a few others that knew of the situation, and me all gathered to pray for Girl’s safety and ultimately, her life.
I have found out all this information at varying times, but I will try to put it in proper time-sequence order for you.
Girl reached her real sister’s place in Sudan, only to find the sister not living there anymore. Her parents are apparently MUCH farther north, and if you’ve ever looked at a map of Sudan, it is a BIG place.
Girl wasn’t deterred, she went out asking people she knew where her sister had gone, determined to get to her.
When she reached back to town, guess who was at the bus stop?
This is an 8-hour journey to this place in Sudan, but seeing as she was only a few hours behind Girl, she managed to find her fairly easily.
Aunt immediately started beating her and asking the taxi driver how she had gotten there. He explained that one Ugandan and two whites had helped her. Aunt started accusing us and the taxi driver of stealing her, but the man assured her that that morning, Girl was happy and enjoying herself, not afraid. He also pointed out that if the whites had wanted to steal her, why wasn’t she with them.
Being in her own country, speaking her own language, Aunt was able to pay the police to arrest the taxi driver and his conductor (the one who collects the money) on charges of stealing Girl. (The driver and the conductor, in turn, the following day, paid the police to let them out, and they are back here in Uganda. We know this because they called Florence when they returned to let her know.)
Girl left on Sunday morning and was back in Arua on Monday night.
Aunt promptly brought her to the place outside our gate and asked to speak to the guard who used to work for her, who lives next door to us. We were not at home, so several witnesses told us this story later.
She asked him how Girl had gotten to Sudan…as if she didn’t know. He told her how Girl had told all of us that she could go as long as she had money, so “the whites” helped her with money.
She wanted to know why.
Well, open door…in walks SEVERAL Sudanese.
You see, I live surrounded, almost on all sides, by Sudanese families. What I DIDN’T know is that they were all WELL aware of Girl’s treatment. In fact, they knew things that I didn’t. So they all, women and children, came out to confront her. Not only that, my guard and two other guards AND Aunt’s own boda driver joined in.
She was accused of feeding all the children except Girl.
She was accused of making Girl sleep outside at night.
She was accused of using Girl as a slave.
And of course, they all mentioned the beating.
The Sudanese, her own people, said if they heard of Girl being beaten again, they would go and have her arrested.
We had been told, by someone who obviously didn’t know, that there was nothing you could do for children who got beat. Thankfully, Florence went to the police on Sunday afternoon, which I should have done a long time ago, and found out that even Sudanese living in this country could be punished for hurting a child.
It’s good to be informed.
It’s also good to know that in a country where all the laws aren’t ones I agree with and there are many laws that they don’t have that I wish they did, they do have one that really counts!
Pray for Girl. We now know where her new house is, and several people are voluntarily driving/walking by, checking on her regularly (from afar). I haven’t seen her, but when I do, I will give you an update.
Now, it looks like I owe a taxi driver some reimbursement police pay-off money for getting himself out of jail.