Recently Accent Inns had the opportunity to help support a group of young people travelling around the world to tell their story of survival. A charitable group called Watoto is helping the Restore tour travel around the nation and thanks to an old friend bringing this to my attention, Accent Inns was pleased to support their stop in Victoria B.C. The Accent Inn Victoria hotel staff kindly donated rooms for this group during their visit.
“the children were so polite and very, very friendly” Eileen Mettes, General Manager Accent Inn Victoria hotel.
These children are from Uganda. For more than 20 years, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group has waged a ruthless ‘spiritual’ crusade of murder, mutilation, abduction and destruction against the people of Northern Uganda. Unimaginable atrocities have been inflicted upon an entire generation of children. These children have seen and done things no adult, no human being should see or do. I recently had the chance to meet several of these children and their chaperones over breakfast. At first the children appear as “normal” as my own child. Smiling and happy, we talked about the challenges of trying new foods as they travel and discussed their goals in life. They want to be Doctors and teachers and care providers. Then we talked about the fact that most of them are orphans. Their parents have been killed or died in the fighting. Their families torn apart by the conflict. Some of them had even been recruited and forced to do things I just can’t talk about here.
I’ve seen much in my varied life including death, but seeing and hearing these children talk about death, destruction and violence (they were 9-16 years of age) even now brings a tear to my eyes and a feeling of anger to my heart towards those who would cause such things. I know we are taught to forgive but I can’t help but feel angered that these children have had to go through such trials, angered at mankind for allowing such things to happen. There are good feelings to. I am so very happy that they have survived and even blossomed. Their sharing of song and dance and can bring light to even the darkest of places.
Recently I was asked why Accent Inns laid a wreath at the Remembrance Day ceremonies. The reason I gave was that we believe it’s so important to let all the soldiers, citizens and “children” involved in conflict know that the whole community, the full cross section of our society, is there to remember, to support and if need be to assist. I’m glad these children are getting the help and support they need and we are thankful for the men and women around the world risking their lives so that we can eventually eliminate the horror that still continues to this day.
If you’re looking for the meaning of life or a reason to life to its fullest, just speak with a child on the Restore tour. They are some of the most special and wise people I have ever met. Our thoughts go out to them for the future and my thanks go to all those who help support and protect them. Well done Watoto for all that your group is doing for the children and society.