Local Woman Helps Ugandan Town Rebuild in Kony's Aftermath
COLUMBIA - Many people learned about Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) through a YouTube video that premiered last month. Even so, one local woman has travelled to Northern Uganda for the past four years to help rebuild a community left in the wake of Kony's aftermath.
Barbara Bauer, a local psychological therapist, has volunteered with the charity organization Network 4 Africa since 2008. Bauer and three others just returned from their seventh three-week trip to Patongo, a small town in northern Uganda.
Bauer and others established the Patongo Community Counseling Outreach in 2008. The outreach program consists of workshops to help community members deal with alcoholism, suicide, sexual abuse and, especially, young men and women returning from the LRA's captivity.
"We encorporated leadership skills into our training," Bauer said, "because of a whole generation of young people who don't think about the future. They think about survival."
Network 4 Africa volunteers mainly affect Patongo by conducting peer training. The volunteers work with community members of all ages and train them to mentor other community members. Bauer remarks that Patongo, essentially, helps to rebuild itself.
"It's presumptuous to think that as a westerner that I can come in there, in another culture and another language, and do some kind of therapy," Bauer said. "You really need to have the local people, who are aware of their customs and traditions, do the intervention."
Bauer plans to return to Uganda in November during their fall dry season.