Breaking the Silence – The Story of MK.
A Friends New Underground Railroad Story – December 1, 2014
Finally I break the silence! What took me so long to speak out? I don’t know but I was just taking my time, waiting for the right opportunity. I have suffered so many internal struggles, so many fears, so many setbacks and failures. I have had 15 attempts on my life, so by organized gangs, some random attacks, some by blood relates, some by dates from hell. I can run short of fingers counting how many times I have contemplated suicide as a solution to my problem, I have tried taking by life by a rope and rat poison. I have changed religions several times till I decided to become a humanist. Well, it has taken me long to find internal peace and comes to terms with life as it.
I got involved with a small rural gay Organization in 2008, after saving 2 years in Luzira Prison for homosexuality related charges, a fearless frontline human rights activist I won’t mention here had started this small Organization in Eastern Uganda, “AW” had followed my case from the very start, he even got for me a lawyer to help but we lost the case and I went to jail, where I served for 2 years, on my release AW made arrangements so that I have a safe place to stay and he got me involved within the operation of the Organization. This work gave me love and relative peace of mind, though we were doing it at extreme risk. Later on AW had to run out of Uganda and went and settled in Canada though love, care and passion for the LGBTq work and what was happening in Uganda at the time, forced him to return to Uganda to add his voice and fight the then AHB, though he still lost and it was signed into law and again it was time for him and me to run out of Uganda.
My dedication and commitment to work, saw me become one of the pillars of this Organization, at one point early this year, several LGBTq people were being rounded up, beaten, killed in cold blood, forced into hiding, imprisoned, mob attacks, mob justice, blackmail, exposing etc.
We had to do something yet fundraising for LGBTq Organizations in a country like Uganda is not easy but we needed resources to keep our operations going on. That’s women fate brought us into contact with the likes of Levi and Gabi who are quakers based in Washington US. Through an organized meeting there was a break through when FNUR accepted to fund our operations to help with the escape of LGBTq at extreme and real immediate risk. We set up base in a neighboring country to coordinate those arriving from Uganda. They were being processed by or ground “home” team in Uganda and being sent to us in the dead of night. Earlier in the years AW had established a working relationship with an established transporter, Michael, who is involved in tours and travel. Michael is a special character, he is one business man with a heart for people and the world could be a better place with more people like him. He used his extensive experience and local knowledge to make sure that all the passengers in movement always reached us in the neighboring country without any problem. He is a dedicated man working with drivers who share his love and passion for humans. He worked with AW to create several escape routes, got godfathers within the immigrations and police (okay call them corrupt officials but they are helping us in times of need) Every after 2 or 3 days I was always at the bus terminal receiving passengers who have escaped death in Uganda. I could always welcome them, getting them counseling, a place to stay and then stay the long, painful and unforgiving process of securing them visas to their final destination, once they received visas I could again look around for funders who could pay for their tickets. Some of the funders were strangers; some were not strangers but wanted to act strangers. I could like to recognize a one couple whose family moved from Netherlands to Canada way many years ago. This couple I could call I & R …. donated tickets and money, in this way they were supplementing the work of the Quakers – FNUR who could help with the escape to the nearest safe place.
While I was still in office handling the affairs of this operation, we managed to safe over 260 clients, who we call passengers. Most of them are now settling in other countries around the world. I feel so happy that none of our passengers made it to the UN Refugee Camps, we operated so different from the long red tapes and processes of other refugee operations, our policy was simple, does so and so a client want to leave, is he or she at extreme risk and danger, is the danger immediate, is he or she gay? Does our transporter have fuel in his van or bus, are all the facts real and very well researched and verified? Then we are good to go. This kind of simplicity attracted world attention and the haters wanted to fail the program. Some thought a lot of many was being misused but when I see our clients establishing them several in Canada, Netherlands, Rwanda, South Africa, UAE, Norway, France, Germany, Sweden name it, am like yeeee we made it, thanks to the FNUR who set the ball rolling.
I am 100% confident to state that without FNUR made gay men and women from many rural parts of Uganda could be dead, forced to take their own lives, in jail or injured. You FNUR rock and I admire you. What you did and still doing in remarkable.
Having worked as one of the conductors and also as a “Bus stage manager” I was also at risk so I time came when I decided to leave, I traveled to Canada when everybody didn’t expect me, I wanted to be in a free country on arrival I realized things were not going to be the same and a lot has changed by the government in power when it comes to immigration laws and asylum seekers. I don’t like to be slowed down, considering that I was likely to in incarceration or some form of detention I was like nope, I have already suffered enough, I can’t and I won’t stay in Canada, I contact a friend and I was able to apply for a working Visa in UAE. I am confident enough to say that despite the punishing heat and the conservative laws in UAE, nobody minds me, nobody cares that maybe am different and I have a nice job, nice accommodation and making friends who don’t judge.
Without FNUR this couldn’t have been possible.
I enjoyed working with FNUR and given time I will start giving back to FNUR for they saved my life
Thanks, thank you so Much
Download a PDF file of this story here.
Appeal! Fund Ten Lesbian Women Hiding for Two Months Out of Uganda!
There are ten lesbian women have been hiding for two months with help from a conductor while waiting for the funds to support their escape from Uganda.
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