Saturday, January 16, 2010

akello pamella, tailor

Akello Pamella, right, with her daughter Maria

You need only talk with Akello Pamella a short time to realize what an intelligent, creative person she is. Like so many Northern Ugandans, she was subjected to cruel treatment during the long war waged by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but she has risen above the trauma to become a talented tailor and in her personal life she found an outlet through songwriting; her ballad “Uprooted and Forgotten” expresses poignantly her early experiences. The fact she wrote it in English is testament to her good language skills, despite having to interrupt her schooling early due to pregnancy.

At age 23 Akello Pamella is the mother of two daughters (Maria, 2 years, and Innocent, 6 years) and the caretaker for one boy (Felix, a 6-year-old nephew). Her husband works as a welder in another town, so he is only at home every few weeks.

Akello Pamella was the only daughter in her family and remains close to her family of five brothers, her father, and – especially – her mother, although they live 12 miles apart and she is not able to visit as often as she would like. As is the custom in Uganda, Pamella’s dwelling is with the family of her husband.

She wants to “keep sewing and learn to use a computer.” Her long term goal is like that of many Ugandans – to save enough money to buy land. She says “One Mango Tree has helped me a lot, especially that now I have money in my savings account.”

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