While my Jimmy and I discuss his past focusing on his time in the bush with Kony’s rebels some stories that I know are quite hard for him to tell, just completely take my breath away. I have no words for some of things my poor husband had to see at such a young age. He tells me these stories, not with tears in his eyes or anger in his voice but with sadness. Sadness knowing that event though he is now free and happy with his life he never forgets the many friends he had to leave behind that never got the opportunity to go home.
There’s one story in particular that occurred in the beginning of his abduction that has always stayed with me. Jimmy and his group were looking for a place to stay for the night. The group that was with him that night consisted of about 60 new young abductees. While the kids were walking through the bush they found a clearing that they decide to take a rest in and soak up the sun. They all laid back and relaxed, for a moment forgetting they were ever abducted, dreaming about home. Soon a government helicopter starts to make its way over in the distance. Jimmy, knowing at this time that even if they’re children and were abducted the government soldiers will do nothing but kill them on sight. Jimmy was quick and took cover under a large tree. Suddenly flying out of the helicopter were bombs and the kids scrambled to take cover anywhere they could. Bushes are being blasted to dust and the trees are now completely destroyed all around them.
Roughly 20 minutes pass before the helicopter takes off and Jimmy is able to come out, with his ears ringing all he sees is a blood bath. These young boys who he was just with, just talking to, are all dead. There were a few of course that were still breathing… Most of them now missing a limb or two. One in particular that Jimmy remembers had the bottom half of his body blown up. This poor child couldn’t move, all he could do was scream in agony, begging for his mom, begging to be home.
There aren’t any hospitals around, and the soldiers are going to come back very soon to finish off the rest of the survivors. All they can do now is pick up those that can move and have chance and leave the others. They walk off towards safety deep into the bush, all while still hearing the screams.
I hear these stories from him and I’m still in disbelief at how lucky we are. How lucky he is to have gotten out alive and well. How lucky we are to have found each other. But my mind sometimes goes back to that boy in that field on that day… How he was all alone, so afraid, in so much pain… just begging to go home.
Hi my name is Tami Molina. I was there when Jessica first fell in love with the children in Uganda via a documentary that she watched. I knew from that first moment, that she was destined to not only go to Uganda but also to do very important work there. Even during the initial years of discouragement from closed doors and delays, I believed that she would one day walk on the red dirt of a Ugandan village. When she did, I was there.
I was there as she persevered and overcame every obstacle to achieve her dream. I watched as her love for Uganda blossomed into a true love for specific people…people with endearing names, beautiful faces and daring aspirations for a better life. When, her love for these dear friends birthed such concern for their future that she felt the need to start a non-profit to help them, once again...I was there.
As NZE moves into the future, impacting the lives of people I’m proud to call my friends too, I plan to be there.
As long as I can remember I’ve always thought it would be fascinating to teach children. I grew up playing school and library with my little sisters and as a young adult I worked as an Academic Coach doing private tutoring in an educational center. I now work a desk job and have discovered volunteer work as a way to fulfill my desire to help and enrich children’s lives. When I first met Jessica Molina, she quickly sparked my interest in her children in Uganda. When I told her I was already pursuing volunteer work with our local foster youth, she realized I was serious and committed to my passion for helping children. That’s when it happened; she offered me the opportunity and privilege to be Travel Volunteer & Event Team Member for NZE.
When I received my full day of traveling itinerary I had no idea what I was in for. I knew I was going to meet with the students and start building my relationship but didn’t really realize what more would come from it. But the moment I saw the village’s children and the students under a tree playing games I was instantly drawn to them, and without question they took me in and allowed me into their life. Going home that night I was on an incredible high, I couldn’t wait to see them again. They were so full of life, so fun, so welcoming. I left a little piece of my heart in Kigo.
The next year I was anxiously waiting for the day of travel and when I finally arrived in Uganda nothing felt better than hearing the kids say my name. They remembered me! What an honor that they remembered me! This time I was touched by the students’ commitment and vigor towards furthering their education. They shared their desires for the future, they shared their interests, they even shared their fears but above all they shared their pure passion and inspired me deeply. I would generally consider myself a driven person but they really showed me how much I am capable of, they showed me what it is to be a motivated individual. NZE and the children of NZE mean so much to me. They are an inspiration and I will dedicate as much as I can to helping them pursue and reach their goals.
They have changed me forever. Because of them I am a better person. I love holding their tiny hands, I love their smiles and that alone is a reason to keep traveling back to see them.