The SaddleBrooke Ranch Writing Guild is a group dedicated to improving our writing skills. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the La Vista room at the La Hacienda Club from 1 to 3 p.m. If you have any questions about the club, please contact Kathie Marshall at [email protected].
This month, we share an excerpt from author Janet Storton’s book, The Grass That Suffers.
The Grass That Suffers
By Janet Storton
In Africa there is a legend, “When two elephants fight, it is the grass beneath their feet that suffers.” For Africans, this means when two tribes war against each other, or when rebels and soldiers clash, it is the women and children who suffer.
The Village of Bobi, Uganda
Lightning bolts collided again and again in the distance. Thunder rolled across the plains, shaking the grass roof above me. I curled close to my sisters on the hard earth floor with only a woven mat underneath and a thin sheet over me to ward off the cold, damp air.
As the thunder grew louder, I was snapped from my dreams and sat up to listen. I began to hear voices, cackling, and war chanting, as the trucks came bounding into my village of Bobi. I peeked out to see rebels waving rifles in the air and knew they had only death and lust on their minds. When the trucks came to a roaring stop, rebels leaped out of the trucks and began firing into the pitch-black sky, ready to begin their rampage. I bolted from my hut knowing the dreaded night raiders had come.
In 2014, Janet Storton, a resident of 16B at SaddleBrooke Ranch, was invited to a church in Gulu, Uganda, where many young girls, rescued from rebel camps, were being cared for. While there, she was drawn to a young woman who had been kidnapped and held captive by the notorious Joseph Coney and the Lord’s Resistance Army in 2003. Stella, 15 years old at the time, suffered unimaginable hardships and lived in constant fear during her captivity. Miraculously, Stella was released and found her way back to the village. During a training session with Janet, and for the first time, she offered to tell her painful story. Janet’s heart grieved as she furiously took notes while Stella relived her experience. Janet’s passion for writing became the inspiration for her book, The Grass That Suffers. Janet promised Stella her story would be heard, and others would know.
Janet uses the proceeds from the sales of her book to fund the Sisters of the Heart Foundation, which she created 15 years ago. She travels to Africa twice a year to oversee this foundation. Janet found so many young girls in the villages without the opportunity of an education or even having the skills to support themselves. Janet started a vocational program giving young girls and women hope, through learning the sustainable skill of sewing and expanding their entrepreneurial skills. With a grant from the U.S. Embassy Aid program, a vocational school was built in Uganda in 2010.
For those Ranch residents interested in purchasing a book or making a donation to the Sisters of the Heart Foundation, you may contact Janet at [email protected].
For more information about the foundation and the women it funds, you may visit the foundation’s website, sistersoftheheartfoundation.com.