We Lost Lutelo

Journal Entry – September 8, 2014

There was a crowd of older women – mothers and grandmothers – gathered around Isaac this morning. The tone was sombre. I know to leave him alone at times like these. He is becoming a village elder and there are times when Wakaliga needs him more than I do.


He told me that Lutelo, one of our Kung Fu guys, has disappeared and that his family fears the worst. People disappear all the time in the slum, but they are usually just escaping their day-to-day lives to find fortune elsewhere. This is different. Isaac fears he was murdered.

Wakaliga is a relatively safe place. Children play freely and everyone knows each other. Kampala can be different, tho. And Lutelo works as a bouncer.

He knows how to handle himself. Lutelo has that confident-yet-gentle demeanor that I’ve see in many Sifus and Kung Fu masters. But all you need is that one person. And if they are from another African country, say South Sudan or DR (Democratic Republic of Congo), the Police will do little if anything to interfere or investigate. Or, so I am told.


I walked by his home at sunset. It’s right where I took my first dive into the raw sewage, three long years ago. Women were crying and digging for clues in his clothing.

The family is hopeful. Isaac is not.

Journal Entry – September 29, 2014

Stumbled across this missing person’s sign in downtown Kampala, posted by Lutelo’s family. I was picking up a batch of the new movie posters.


I’m reminded, each and every day, that we’re on a mission. Nothing is going to change without the films. Without getting Alex out there. Isaac is fond of quoting President Museveni, when times are tough. “You don’t stop fighting until the war is over.”

Alex will mark the beginning of their story, I think. A beginning that was 10 years in the making. Or maybe it’s just ‘the beginning of the beginning,’ as Isaac likes to joke.

Journal Excerpt – December 21, 2014

Nothing. Still nothing.