East Africa the focus of SACPA event

The University of Lethbridge will host a special edition of the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) presentation Wednesday evening in Galileo's Gallery.

Speaker Justin Odera will present International Repercussions of the Eco-crises: East Africa, 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Galileo's.

The UN FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) projects that the greatest number of people in history will be starving this year, with over 1 billion going to bed hungry. In Eastern Africa, this reality is exacerbated by persistent drought.

In a world threatened by simultaneous economic and ecological crises, thousands of billions of dollars are made available on short notice for banks and financiers. Should the poorest of the poor suffer even more because of financial profligacy of the moneyed elite?

Odera will talk about the plight of his Acholi people in the Sudan, displaced by civil war and now coming home after 15 years from the Kenyan and Ugandan refugee camps to face hunger, and a void in education and medical care. Justin will also speak about those of his people who have come to Alberta and how they are faring in this time of crisis.

Odera was born in 1973, during a period of civil war. His Acholi family hometown was Pajok in the Magwi district, eastern Equatoria province, Southern Sudan. He lived through 29 brutal war years as well as the fragile life in refugee camps, before arriving in Canada in 2001.

The Acholi people have been living along the shores of East Africa's rivers and lakes for the past six centuries. The traditional territories of his Luo speaking tribe are the borderlands of western Uganda, northwestern Kenya and Sudan's Eastern Equatoria province.

Odera is the Program Director of Southern Sudan Canada Acholi Progressive Education Association (SSCAPEA), an Alberta based, non-profit organization dedicated to health, education, economic aid and community development amongst war weary families hailing from the refugee camps of East Africa.

Alex Masse will serve as moderator for this free event.