Northern Uganda-I heard from one of the volunteers here that the longest civil war in African history is the one that is currently going on in northern Uganda. Political factions have been fighting for years, people have been displaced, children have become soldiers and slaves to the sexual desires of many. Families have been torn and people have become enemies.
Years ago, the Peace Corps pulled it's presence out of northern Uganda. Until today. The rebel forces have been pushed largely into the Congo and Sudan, and parts that were before unsafe, have been deemed safe for travel and for livelihood. I have been given the special honor of being a part of the first group to go back to this land.
Aesthetically, northern Uganda may not be on top of all the traveling guides. The place is flat, dry, and in the dry season...hotter than a hornets nest. But I think the people may make this the greatest part of the country. I have only been here for 5 days, and so perhaps the best I can do is tell what I've heard from others, and what I've seen.
For many reasons, that may or may not be justified, the people of the north are not the same as the people from the south, east, and west. I was talking to a woman from southern uganda about the people from the north and she described them as people without human hearts. She said she feared them and that the war had made them a tough people. However, I have heard another side as well. I have heard they are a people of solidarity, that the war has formed bonds like brotherhood between a suffering people. I have heard that if there is only one fruit in a class of students, they will either share, or not eat. They often don't eat I think. This is the people that I have been given the opportunity to know. These are the people that I see right now as I look out the door, people cutting lumber, selling fruit, and carrying 30 chickens tied by there legs upside down on one bicycle. I can't wait. There is certainly some trepidation, but Im trying to trust God, trying not to mess up, and trying to really listen. I have no idea what will happen. I know that I am thankful for the encouragment of many.
On a similar note, I have moved into my house. On another post I will try to describe the housing, and maybe even post a picture, though that may never happen. For now, lets just say that I couldn't get my mosquito net hung up so I slept the first night with it wrapped around me like a blanket. Also, I've been eating a lot of peanut butter.
The nearest "munu/mzungu" to my house is about 40 km away. This is my fellow Peace Corps Volunteer. Mike is a former PC Volunteer from Kenya, and pretty much, he is money. Recently, Mike and I went to the nearest city to pick up some supplies, and to make a long story short, we wound up hiring a 70 year old man to push a wheelbarrow filled with 145 pounds of propane 800 meters up hill. He is a tough man. I am now sleeping in a place called "The Fortress" with this propane tank next to my head.
air conditioning compels you
2 days ago