The white teeth shine and illuminate this beautiful Ugandan nun, who has not lost the desire to welcome everyone with a smile, despite the many terrible things seen in her life. “My strength comes from God, he takes care of me.” Rosemary Nyirumbe of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has saved thousands of raped girls, denigrated, scarred in heart and body, kidnapped and used as machines of war by the Army of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony crowds, wanted as a war criminal by the Hague Tribunal.
Considered one of the most dangerous terrorists in the world by the United States, from 1987 until 2006, in the name of a “god”, with his men bloodied and terrorized northern Uganda, leaving behind thirty thousand deaths, two million displaced persons, and enslaving one hundred thousand children as baby soldier. One third of these victims were children, trained to take up arms against their own people, and therefore discarded by their community. Today are women. “We help them to forgive themselves and especially to love their children, even if they are the result of violence. They are the real victors of the war, “told me Sister Rosemary.
As she speaks, she keeps beside her a shiny and colorful handbag. Watching her closely, I notice that it is not made of normal tissue. “It is built with cans of tabs that are thrown in the trash once you are drinking the contents” she explains. It is the school of vocational training of women of Santa Monica in Gulu, northern Uganda, taking place these handbags. unique pieces sold abroad, all handmade by her girls.
“They put together those pieces that have been thrown away, just like these girls. When we work hard with them and help them, these girls become beautiful, as well as the pieces discarded when we put them together they become a bag, become beautiful. ”
On her it is just out with EMI publishing the book Sister Rosemary. Sew hope. The woman who gives back dignity to girl soldiers, Reggie Whitten and Nancy Henderson. she has started to help these girls doing little things, without any strategic plan. She also received one of 60 wives of Kony and his children. For her commitment in 2007 CNN has elected her heroine of the year and in 2014 Time has included her among the 100 most influential people in the world. One meter and 50 of sympathy that these honors she did not seem at all to be concerned. “I tell you the truth. I am a small person, a short person, and have never become high, I did not grow up “. A small woman who has never stopped to make big dream.
How’s it going in Uganda in this moment?
“Now there is peace, but people have to to face the consequences of war.”
You Are survived two dictators. How do you gained a vocation?
“My vocation was born when I was very young. I passed on the season of the dictator Idi Amin and Joseph Kony, I feel a kind of product of the war. My call was precisely to address the suffering, especially of women and children. ”
What kind of suffering has brought the army of Joseph Kony?
“It is impossible to describe it because it has caused deep and lasting effects. Many people make mistakes thinking that the LRA war ended in 2006, to be present with the victims helps to deal with this pain. ”
The LRA has carried out violence in the name of God, as today with the Isis.
“All reasonable people understand that it is wrong to use God for a violent action. Looking to what made this army, it is easy to understand that all God’s commandments have been broken. There is no kind of justification bringing his name up to make a violent action “.
Is it possible to heal the wounds of these girls?
“I answer you with the story of Janet. She did not look at anyone’s face, never wanted to make eye contact. ‘What can I do for her? I wondered. I’m not a Councelor or expert in psychology. I started just near her. She started to tell me that she was
taken away from her family and had always been with the rebels. I thought then to give her something different and we started cooking together. She became the best student of the cooking class “.
Is it a long work?
“Living with these girls I understand that rehabilitation is not to put them in a rehabilitation facility, but to be with them all the time it takes, and rehabilitate these girls takes a long time.”
Is it difficult for these women to accept the children born from the violence suffered by the rebels?
“Keep in mind that for their tradition children are the children of the father, and therefore it is difficult to include the children of the rebels in the mother’s group. So we try to make independent these young mothers. We have also seen this exclusion in the kindergarten of our school, because other parents did not want to put their children with rebellious children. But I said: “In our kindergarten we haven’t children of rebels, we have just innocent children. ” And gradually things have changed. ”
How do you live all pain you meet?
“To live all this was and is heavy, but it helped me to grow. It helped me to understand that God has called me to give my life for my people. I could be myself in the same situation of these young people. It is only by his grace if I grew up with my family, I studied and I had an adequate education that I could return. Most of my life has been lived in a situation of violence, but the Lord has always protected me and I think there is more to do for me, since I’m not yet been killed. ”
Often you say that:”everything, including the faith, is best to practice than preach”.
“I speak of God to these people that I welcome with my presence. It is not a school but a home where we can show that God is present. And since I have given my life, I would not have been there if I had not believed. I have chosen to show the visible God being there with them. ”
“Sew hope”: where is born the title of your book?
“These women who have been instructed to use a machine gun to kill, we teach how to use a sewing machine. You can sew a dress and mend a torn life. Or take from waste cans caps to build handbags and pick up the pieces to rebuild the life of these girls. We try to stitch the broken lives, shattered by machine guns and rebels. This is why for me the sewing machine is so significant. ”
Which method do you use?
“It’s something that comes from the heart. I never thought to get these results. I am very fascinated by the possibility of turning waste into beauty, into a treasure. And I am totally convinced that the people who are regarded as waste can become beautiful and become a great treasure for society. ”
Are you still a midwife?
She smiles … “I love it!”.
Currently what are the emergencies?
“Now the refugees from Congo, Sudan are coming. We help women who suffer from the consequences of war, who did not have the possibility of education. We are also involved with women chained in prison and we ask to the prison authorities to give permission to bring out their children from prison. There are many things in which we are involved, they are all the effects of war. ”
Where do you find the strength to hope?
“For me is the faith, is God who gives me hope. I trust that the situation will change with our involvement. People should not think: “I can’t do anything, I can’t because the situation in Africa is so terrible, so serious.” getting involved
with this child, with that woman, the situation will change. Each of us can do a lot to change the world. At least You should try. I learned that if you share your dreams with other they come true. If you make big dreams, great things came true. I’ll never stop to dream great dreams. “