Stories from the Field

The Time I Had a Moving Conversation with a Deaf and Mute Mom

They were the best days I’d ever spent in a refugee settlement. They were busy, they were chaotic, and they were physically tiring. They didn’t go exactly as planned. But, because that’s just how our God works, I walked away from them full of a renewed sense of passion for the work of Tutapona.

While there, I was able to hear the testimonies of five very brave people from their own lips. The following story, which was told by an eighteen year-old boy about his deaf and mute mother, really touched me.

“I am from Congo. I’ve lived in Nakivale since April 2015. Our father left home for food and up until now hasn’t come home. I am still not aware if he’s alive.When the rebels were in Congo, they raped our mother in our presence. That’s when she became pregnant with our youngest sibling. As the rebels raped our mother, they left her with problems with her reproductive system.

After our mother was raped, she was unconscious. Shortly afterwards, all of us moved with her to the border to Uganda. Right now, as the oldest son, I am the head of the family. I don’t go to school, but I bring my sister to school. There is a man who’s hired me to raise cattle for 30,000 shillings [approximately $9] a month for the whole family.

We were referred to Tutapona. As my mother said, “Tutapona has always been there for us. They’ve given us food, clothes, love. We were very hungry, we’d lost hope, Tutapona fed us. When I was sick, they brought me to the hospital and they gave me medicine.”

This family’s situation is not unheard of among the many refugees living in Nakivale. Death, rape, and poverty have been woven into the stories of many broken individuals. Tutapona exists to bring healing to people like these. As we sat in their door-less hut, broken-hearted about the story they shared, we knew that these are the kind of people God has called us to help.

-Emma Gaede