THE elderly who are still stranded in internally displaced peopleâ€™s camps in Lira district want Lango cultural leaders to strengthen the culture which faded during the 20-year-long war in the north.
They said because traditional family ties had weakened, relatives were reluctant to support those who have been displaced. The young and healthy are no longer able or willing to offer adequate support to their more vulnerable relatives, the elderly said.
While internally displaced people have returned to their villages, many of the elderly have been left in the camps.
â€œI have nowhere to go. All my children have abandoned me,â€ Santa Etyang, a 56-year-old widow living at Starch Factory Camp, said.
Santorino Etim, another widow, said before the war, the elderly were treated as important people in the communities.
Kawinya Paddi Alwala, the youth chairman for the Lango Cultural Foundation, said they were educating the youth about the value of looking after the elderly.
It is not just the elderly who are abandoned by their families, even the sick and those who have lost relatives during the war also have no one to turn to, Alwala said.
Florence Akello, 47, said she was rejected by her family after she tested HIV-positive. Traditionally, children were expected to take care of the sick and the elderly, Akello said, adding that all her children were kidnapped by the LRA rebels.
But younger and able-bodied members of the community said they have problems of their own. War survivor Sam Ayo said: â€œWe have not abandoned them. Our elders should understand that the suffering they are undergoing is because of the LRA rebels. We also have a lot to do such as taking care of our siblings orphaned in the war.â€
Lango elders cry of neglect