Fargo South, NDSU grad returns to African roots to help girls in Uganda

Ajah Galuak

The video above is the second segment in a series of three titled Orphans of the Nile by reporter Kevin Wallevand and photographer Devin Krinke. Find part one here. 

The group rescues orphan girls from war-torn South Sudan, and educates and protects them at a special compound in Uganda.

The "boots-on-the-ground" project leader in Africa is a Fargo South and NDSU grad who has memories of serving with the North Dakota Guard during the 2009 flood.

As the sun comes up in Uganda, a promise of another scorcher.

Morning chores in the village start early before the return of a searing sun.

At the Fargo-based African Soul American Heart compound in Uganda, the 40-plus orphan girls are in the middle of laundry day.

Here to oversee the operation of the charity, Ajah Galuak, who left a good-paying job in the states, to return to Africa and help change the lives of these girls.

"Some of them might have not experience love and sharing," said Ajah Galuak, a Fargo South grad.

Then again, she felt she had to, she has been there, a child refugee, left an orphan.

"Having me been through that, you do not know the love until you experience something like this," said Ajah.

The Fargo South and NDSU grad and ND Guard member came to Fargo as a South Sudan orphan from a refugee camp in 2003.

Ajah fondly recalls her first days in Fargo, a new culture a new school and of course, the weather.

"The first time we saw snow, we thought it was flower falling, tried to look at it but it melted and was cold, it was interesting," said Ajah.

The chemistry and microbiology college grad, is here in Uganda running the Fargo Charity, African Soul American Heart; educating, protecting, the orphan girls.

"Orphans here, they are people to be used for marriage, forcefully and so to get protection and education is a plus," said Ajah.

These are her girls and since she has lived their lives, it is a perfect fit.

At times, as we found out at the border of South Sudan and Uganda ongoing conflicts, and a flood of refugees,

The sight of desperation was at times too much for Ajha,

"Of confusion of not knowing where they are going, where they are going tomorrow," said Ajah.

Overwhelmed, quietly grieved, alone, she knew what those women and children were going through, and now this mother of her own little girl, could only imagine what must be going through the minds of those refugees.

"There is a part of me that says they are going to be okay, and a part of me that that feels pain and that is the hardest part," said Ajah.

Soon it will be a new day, another chance to see the sacrifice of one spark remarkable change in the lives of these Orphans of the Nile.

"These girls are changing my live and I think I am changing their lives, too," said Ajah.