Christopher, along with a small group of Radio Active volunteers, traveled up to the North East of Uganda to visit a remote tribe called the Ik. A team member later wrote: “With us we had 40 hand-cranked tape players, plus 3 hours of Gospel-based stories in the Ik language. These had been translated by one of the only educated Ik tribesman, John Mark, and recorded in our RadioActive Studios in Kampala. It was the first time the Ik language had been recorded on tape. It was also one of the first projects in our newly equipped audio studio, thanks to a generous grant from the Family Care Foundation.
"The Ik tribesmen were thrilled with the tapes and the recorders. It was the first time outsiders had visited them in many years. For a thousand years, the Ik have been living in an area dominated by warring tribes of Karimojong, who continually raid each other’s cattle. Whereas they used to be armed with spears, bows and arrows, the Karimojong warriors now carry AK 47s. The Ik tribe, who are peaceful agriculturalists, are often set upon by their feuding Karimojong neighbors and their settlements burned, food stolen and tribesmen killed.
"When we arrived in the area, we were told that a few days previously there had been a major cattle raid by the Dodoth against the Kenyan Turkana tribe. Many Turkana had been killed. The area where we planned to visit was right in the middle of the two tribes, and one of the Ik villages had been burned. We prayed for confirmation that we should continue our mission in light of the security situation in the area. In fact in the whole vast Karamoja region remains largely outside Government control.
"We reached the Ik at a desperate time. There had no been rain for seven months, and the ground was parched. Water and food were very sparse. We visited three different locations where the Ik have settled. Runners were sent to the various villages in the surrounding mountains to announce our arrival. In each locality we held a prayer meeting with whoever was able to attend. The tape-recorders were demonstrated and presented to representatives from the surrounding Ik villages. Over 3 days all 40 tape players were distributed.
"A Jesuit priest evangelized the Ik some 60 years ago, so they practice a simple form of Catholicism. Then in 1996 an American missionary visited them and helped to develop a written language for the Ik and, with the help of a ministry in the U.S., oversaw the translation of Gospel-based stories into the Ik language. Looking for a studio to record the tapes in Uganda, they located us through the FCF website, which was how we first became involved with the project."
Excerpts from other trips up North:
- "For over two years, our syndicated radio show has played weekly on Radio Paidha, which reaches the whole troubled area of Northern Uganda, as well as parts of Eastern Congo & Sudan. In recent months, thousands of refugees have fled to Paidha from Bunia, where the Hema & Lendu tribes have been engaged in Rwanda-style massacres in recent months. Despite the seriousness of this conflict, it has only recently caught the attention of the world media. And the U.N. has at last sent a French-led peacekeeping force. However, whether they will be able to do much to stop this seemingly unbreakable cycle of revenge killings remains to be seen. For thousands who have already been brutally hacked to pieces, it is already too late. We recently visited this up-country station to host some live radio programs, as well as make personal contact with listeners who had been writing us from these areas. Paidha is a place where very few foreigners venture."
- "This month we traveled to Masindi, about 3 hours from Kampala, where Christopher did a 3 hour Saturday morning show on with the local DJ, followed by 2 consecutive 3-hour-shows on Sunday morning. After each show we got to meet our listeners –some who had already written and others who had not."