15 Sep

Good (and bad) news from Uganda – an update – September 15, 2020

Good (and bad) news from Uganda. After months of backlog, everyone that Friends Ugandan Safe Transport had waiting is now out and safe! We can hardly believe it, and we have some debts, and we are sure there will be more, but at least we can have an interim celebration.

Except….

The conductor who worked on these rescues, after the last 20 got out, quite literally collapsed. He is in the hospital, diagnosed with BOTH bacterial meningitis and pneumonia!

Fortunately, both are treatable. We spoke with him, and after a rough week he is in surprisingly good spirits.

So FUST has medical bills! The only other thing we use FUST money for besides the direct transport costs is medical care for our conductors. For without them and their extraordinarily courageous work, there is no FUST. We have lost conductors previously, and do not want to lose one more.

Please consider giving generously. Funds can either go directly to the Olympia Friends Meeting earmarked FUST, or through the FUST PayPal account (which also goes through the Meeting.
See: http://friendsugandansafetransport.org/donate/

For the record, 2281 people are now out of harm’s way, transported out by brave transporters who are supported by funds donated to FUST.

12 Aug

Friends Ugandan Safe Transport Important Update 08-11-2020

by David Albert Aug 11, 2020

Dear Friends –

Eight members of Bulungi Tree Shade Friends Meeting were arrested by police in Kamuli, Uganda on “suspicion of homosexuality”. They were held for four days, during which time they were starved and tortured, and entirely traumatized.

A Bulungi Friends Meeting member and friend traveled to Kamuli, and, at great personal risk, remained in contact with the eight the entire time, while negotiating with a corrupt and criminal police force.

As horrible as the experience was, having them held for four days, rather than being bound over to the court, was a good thing, as they then would have been tortured for more information. (The torture they received was purely sadistic, and for no other purpose.)

After several days of intense negotiations, all eight were ransomed, and have been moved to another town. Antibiotics and painkillers have been purchased for them (and food provided.) They are still extremely traumatized.

Friends Ugandan Safe Transport would like to move them out of the country as quickly as possible, and a conductor is ready to do so. At their interim destination, there is housing, food, medical care, and counseling waiting for them.

The transport will cost $600. If folks would like to throw in a few bucks to help pay for the loan made to ransom these folks, that would be great too.

Contributions go through the Olympia Friends Meeting, earmarked for FUST.

Fastest way is through the PayPal link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=75NTGCGG66TDQ

or send a check to:

Olympia Friends Meeting
3201 Boston Harbor Road NE
Olympia, WA 98506

Put “FUST” or “Uganda” in the note on the check

Please share this information.

Thank you!

Here is the story of a recent FUST passenger:

“Yes I can breathe”

by James Banawona – Age 27

I was born and raised in a very hostile family. My polygamous family never had any respect for women. My father’s primitive way of doing things has had very unforgiving results, which has left scars on many of his children. I never knew or saw any sign of love in our home. When I was 16, my mother noticed some gay behaviors in me. This didn’t go well with her. At our big home stead in Buwenge about 36 kilometers from Jinja, I was flogged by the entire family, I passed out and I only realized that I was at Jinja Main hospital after 4 days. I almost died, and to date I am disabled as my backbone moved out of position and one of my legs became shorter. I ended up spending almost 18 months in the hospital. As soon as I was able to support myself I escaped from the hospital, at the age of 17 and started a life on the streets of Jinja.

In 2011, I connected with an LGBTQ organization (which I won’t mention here) and they helped me complete high school and college and I was admitted at Kyambogo University for a Bachelors in Telecom Engineering. It’s a whole long story but I at least managed to complete my degree but of course not on time as the organization was also struggling financially.

Because of my sexual orientation, it was impossible to get a job in my field. I became depressed and that’s how I lost it. I became a drug addict as I had lost hope in life. I can’t even count the times I contemplated committing suicide.

Later in 2018, I started reconnecting with some people who had helped me in the past. I was introduced to a church-like setting, but unlike traditional churches, this was more of friends, friends coming together, without judging each other. Since late last year, the meetings became more persecuted and haunted so everything went underground. It’s through these meetings that I was able to be identified for safe transport.

Amidst the Covid 19 crisis, I was finally able to flee from Uganda thanks to the support of Quaker friends and the dedication plus courage of XX (the conductor), who did all it took so that we would leave the country and nobody was hurt.

I am happy that I can breathe now, I recently landed a juicy job in a telecom company!

Yes, I can breathe now

Thanks for loving me with true love in Light.