After an almost sleepless night on the plane, two rather short nights and busy days and an 8 hour journey I arrived in Packwach feeling somewhat sleep deprived!
After a 12 hour sleep, a day spent at the leisurely pace of African villages and a delicious fish supper were commenced work sorting out the land. We finalised some of the paperwork that was outstanding from buying the land and cleared the balance associated with it (it was great fun hurtling around the Ugandan countryside on the back of a slightly dodgy motorbike). I’ve asked Robert and Harryson (Robert’s brother) to work together to find a buyer for it. Robert because he it’s on the ground and Harryson because I trust him more. Things came to a natural end when the Robert’s family were all traveling to another village for a burial. Burials in Uganda can be lengthy affairs, sometimes taking 2 or 3 days and anyone who had a connection with that person (however tenuous) is expected to attend at least part of it. Therefore, is not unusual to hear people say they are going for a burial somewhere, especially since the death rate in Uganda is higher. I’m hoping that a buyer will be found while I’m in Uganda so that I can go across to supervise the transaction.
I took Rainbow (my friend from Karamoja) and Harryson with me and it was really good to have their support throughout. When things went pear-shaped at Hannah’s Foundation, Harryson was much more supportive of me, while Robert seemed to be more busy saving face. I was asked a few times to start a project there but I know it’s not right. It was a bit tempting but I want to be in the centre of God’s will and leaving frees me up to focus more on the school-to-be in Karamoja. As I look back, I see how much quicker and deeper Karamoja has sunk into my heart than Nebbi ever did.
The journey to Kotido, Karamoja was interesting! Moving to and from Kampala is always much easier than going across to anywhere else! We caught a slow-moving truck (the only time it got above 50kmph (approx 36mph) was going downhill and we had around a 200km journey to make. On the way we saw 2 accidents, both of which seemed to be drivers that had simply lost concentration and run off the road. There’s not the laws here to protect truck drivers from driving too long an there’s always the risk if you do park up to have a snooze, someone else will come along who’s not concentrating and smash into the back of you. It seems to be a particular issue on that road because it is straight, tarmac with few vehicles using it. After departing from the truck we caught a taxi (taxis work more like minibuses, they travel along specific routes, collect many people and each person pays their own fare) to Lira (one of the bigger towns in the north of Uganda). By the time we arrived at Lira, we were fortunate that there was still a taxi going to Kotido which we hopped on. The taxis have 14 seats in them so most taxis set off once they have got 14 passengers. If they find anyone on the way, they will pick them up and exceed the number of seats but they usually set off with the right number. However, this taxi going to Kotido didn’t want to go until he had at least 19 passengers squeezed into a Toyota Hiace van. It was quite funny that Rainbow complained far more about it than I did, despite growing up with such things! After entering the Karamoja region, we found a place were the Jie Karimojongs were trying to extend their borders by fighting the Karimojongs in Abim with stones (since they thankfully no longer have guns). After dodging the big stones in the road, the exhaust of the van fell off and we drove over it, so wet spent the last 90 mins of the journey driving without an exhaust! All in all the journey took around 12 hours but it’s so good to be back in Kotido!
Today, after running a couple of errands, I went to Shalom (children’s home project that Rainbow runs that I will be partnering with when I build the school) and saw my turkeys! There are 7 and one is sitting on eggs! It was also good to see the fence that has been constructed to include the part of the new land which directly borders the existing Shalom plot. The land is much bigger than I had realised – I half-jokingly told Rainbow I could get lost in it now.
I’m aware that I talk about lots of different places and it easy to forget which place name matches each significance – there might even be place names in this post that you are not sure where or what they are! As I type this, a permanent page is uploading that can be used to easily refer back to of an explanation of the different places I talk about, each with a link to where it is on Google maps. You can find it on the navigation bar at the top of the blog site. As always though, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to either comment on here or message me directly!