No Cause - Patricia Olwoch, USA/Uganda

An excerpt from a play No Cause about the plight of a boy caught up in the war in Northern Uganda, by Achiro Patricia Olwoch. The boy narrates his ordeal in the bush when he was captured by the rebels.

There was a line of young children aged between 5-14 and they all have heavy loads on their heads or backs. They were all being guarded by armed men on either side as they walked... One of the young boys aged 7 stopped walking out of exhaustion and fell to the ground and dropped his luggage in the process.

The rest of the children stopped moving and stood still....they were all of the armed men walks up to little boy and kicked him hard.

'Get up!' he screamed at him...the child was very motionless and very weak...the man just picked up a big club and raised it above his head and hit the boy on the head...there was a scream....and then...silence...that little boy was dead.

Pinto speaks slowly.

I knew that boy...he was my cousin on my mother's side...and there was nothing I could do to help him. I watched him die like a dog... What was I to do? Challenge the man to a duel?


The three of us started to make our escape plan...Lapoya was not too supportive of the plan but we all agreed to do it in the cover of night. Little did we know that our plan was going to turn sour...

Pinto stands and faces the audience...the drumming gets louder and faster...then comes to a stop.

Lapoya, reported us to the leaders!

That could only mean one thing...the blood of a traitor had to be shed. We should have listened to Lapoya...we should not have insisted on our plan...

He walks across the stage...the drum is beating slowly...loudly...

We were made to watch as he was cut up into little pieces.

They made him far as they were concerned he was more of a traitor than we were...and they made an example of him.

They said that people like him would report us to the government army!

I knew that I and Ojok were going to be killed too. We had to get away. Lapoya was dead and we were next...

The drums beat faster...softly...Pinto looks like he is about to take flight...he looks about him...the drumming gets louder as his voice rises with it...

We started to run as fast as we could...there was no looking back...we could hear them chasing us the whole time....they were shouting for us to stop.

We just kept running until we came to an army base where the soldiers rescued us and the rebels went back into the bush.

The drumming stops at the end of his talk...then starts again slowly and softly...

We were taken to the office where the former child soldiers are screened before being returned to our villages.

My whole family was dead...that is how I came to be living here...alone in my hut...nobody else wants me around.

I fall asleep every night and I am so afraid that the rebels will come and pick me in the night. Even when I do sleep, I see Lapoya and all the other dead people we were forced to kill.

I cannot tell anyone what I am feeling because people do not want to hear those stories...

Sometimes I think that they are still afraid of me...maybe they are afraid that I am still a rebel.

Pinto breaks down...falls to his knees...the drumming stops and there is complete silence...he speaks slowly to the audience...

I did not know why I was fighting...yet I was forced to fight. All I want is to go back to school and be a normal boy...I am so sorry and I want to be forgiven...

Please...please forgive me...



© Patricia Olwoch. All rights reserved.


One Response to “No Cause - Patricia Olwoch, USA/Uganda”

  • Jenni Munday says:

    This is very poignant, Patricia - very heart-wrenching. I was reminded of an interview I heard of a boy-soldier who escaped and was helped psychologically through music - he wrote out his memories and past through songs and music.


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