The key to helping the Karimojong resettle is to join those first few pioneers who already have a vision as well as the ability. Success lies within their own desire, foresight, courage, leadership, hard work and generosity. These are intangibles no one can buy or build and they are rare qualities among the Karimojong. This highlights the truth that the Karimojong's journey to becoming the people God has created them to be is far more significant than their physical journey home. This is why our work with the Karimojong must be, above all else, relational. The life of Jesus exemplifies the centrality of relationship through His command that we all "go and make disciples". He simply invites us into deep relationship where we seek that people become everything God created them to be and work alongside of them as they express that inward change outwardly. The challenge is that these relationships require great sacrifice. That's why so many churches and believers have drifted away from making disciples, substituting Jesus' command with good works. Good works can be 9 to 5, in a box, efficient, less costly. Discipleship happens at your dinner table, has less boundaries, is much more risky, messy, inefficient, consuming and, at times, heartbreaking. You simply can't do it without, "picking up your cross".
Jesus is brilliant in His ways. When we make disciples we won't undermine the poor with our good works because, by necessity, we'll know them intimately and work for them to be more successful than ourselves. Jesus knows that the most compassionate thing we can do long-term is make disciples. This is His way of multiplying sustainable good works, justice and mercy in the world. Good works without discipleship is often short-sited, unsustainable and elevates the giver - not the poor. Christ only sews a message of hope that humbles and empowers anyone who is willing to receive it.
In years to come we hope to join the Karimojong in their journey home to Christ. The journey back to Karamoja to resettle is secondary but, we believe, is a wise way to join Christ as He restores God-given dignity to the many Karimojong who are currently slaves to the evils of the human heart and the oppression of the slum.
The truth is there is no plan, no sum of money that will succeed in resettling the Karimojong unless it's in their heart to do so. Some prefer to endure slum life to take advantage of school sponsorships, free food, and temporary markets to sell hand-made crafts. Hopefully, they will leverage these opportunities to move toward self-sustainability. Many will remain aid-addicted and stay in the slums at the expense of their basic human dignity. They have no plan for the future. Others desire to return to their homeland but fear to take such a huge risk and put in the very hard work it would take to achieve it. Still others come and go to Karamoja but can't sustain their lives there during the harsh dry spells.
Over the last seven years we've seen millions of dollars spent by government and international aid organizations hiring staff, building houses, giving away food, sponsoring children and providing transport so that the Karimojong would resettle in Karamoja. More often than not, within a year of the organization leaving, Karimojong families trickle back into the slums. This is because 'home' is far more rooted in social, economic, emotional and spiritual realities than it is the physical or material. Going 'home' is as much an inward journey as it is a physical one.