Invisible children assembly opens eyes to life of struggle

Sarah Valverde, Assistant Editor

Every story has an ending to be read. Take Cinderella; she survived a sad, difficult childhood and moved on to disobey her stepmother and ultimately gained happiness. She lived “happily ever after.” Here’s another one: a woman tries to overthrow the government. She is exiled. Her cousin steps up. The land is devastated with war; schools burn, homes lost, children taken, thousands killed—welcome to Uganda.

For once, Carlsbad students have the power to write the ending of this story. The non-profit organization Invisible Children visited the school on October 12, bearing the story of the less fortunate. They showed a documentary entitled “Go,” which was an account of high school students who visited Uganda after raising money in their school.

They were shocked at what they found. To an American, such decay was inconceivable.

“What got me most was the fact that the government was doing pretty much nothing about it,” Freshman Brian Lee said. “It was pretty much everyone against Uganda. I feel like we’re in some kind of protective bubble.”

Citizens suffer disease and poverty to the point where some even lose the will to live.

“It’s so wrong to me. I mean, we all deserve life—and it’s hard to imagine because I can’t. I just can’t imagine feeling like that because I have so much to live for,” Freshman Hannah Dayhoff said.

Most importantly, there is never enough. Food and water and space—all that we Americans take for granted.

“During the assembly, I was feeling very guilty in a way because I have so much more than they do, and they have almost nothing and I have so much more than I could ever ask for,” Sophomore Melissa Schulze said.

Never could one imagine the horror and the destruction that lay before them. Yet, the people remained strong through the pain. However, the pain was abundant and seemingly endless.

Once the situation became apparent, charities began to take shape. People devoted themselves to this cause, entwining their history with the less fortunate. One such person is Ryan Massey, a full-time volunteer willing to halt his education at Chapman University for the sake of Uganda.

“After I got back from Uganda I felt like it was my duty to inspire others and share my experiences,” Massey said.

Being a truly devoted program, Invisible Children advertised a fundraiser, ‘Schools for Schools’. Schools band together and raise as much money as they can to fund the rebuilding of schools in Uganda. The winners get a trip to Africa to see their money in work.

However, in addition to school reconstruction, the nation itself has reached peace. Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (the LRA), has been removed from the country. Obama signed the LRA Disarmament Bill in May of this year. Peace is just at their fingertips.

“We’re 50 days away from ending this war that affected Fionah for all her life,” Eliz Bassler, a supporter of Invisible Children who visited Uganda on her own time, said.

The assembly featured Achiro Fionah Rwaga, a young woman who lived her life through this war. Challenge after challenge was thrust upon her, yet she remained strong and resistant. She lost both her parents, she couldn’t afford the school fees—yet she allowed it to shape her rather than destroy her.

“It has made me know not everything in life is smooth.  There are ups and downs and the challenges should not make you lag behind,” Rwaga said. “Instead it should be a stepping stone for you to work hard.”

Thanks to Schools for Schools, her story has its “happily ever after.” She is so appreciative of what America is doing for Uganda.

“May the Lord bless you guys abundantly,” Rwaga said.