Today was the day we left Kampala and made the trek to Gulu. 330 kilometers (205 miles) does not sound like such a long drive, but when you factor in unpaved, rocky, dirt roads that create such large dust storms one can barely see- it turns into an 8 hour trip. It was, however, a really great 8 hour trip.
I took the opportunity to talk with our driver, Opiro, about his work at Lacor Hospital. Unbeknownst to me, Opiro was born at Lacor and generations of his family have worked there as well. He has lived in the area all his life, which means he survived the war as well as the Ebola breakout. I will save his fascinating story for a different post.
Our first stop in the drive was at market. While the people I was traveling with bought fresh fruits to bring to the hospital, I had the pleasure of talking with some of the people working there. One of the women I talked to was named Sarah. We embraced and had a laugh about this coincidence. She told me there are not many Sarahs here. Going to market is always fun because the people rush up to you with the produce they are selling and beg you to but theirs instead of somebody elses. The people are friendly and enjoy talking in the hopes they will get you to purchase even more.
Even more so then last year, I fear for the children running around on the sides of the road and crossing without being very careful. At some points on the drive we could not see the car ahead of us let alone children on the side of the road- the dust and dirt gets that thick. The children seem so happy though, and they are very friendly. They love to smile and wave at the white people going by in their cars.
It is really an amazing experience to see the Nile River. Not only is it beautiful and the Karuma waterfalls are located where we cross it in Uganda, but there are furry little friends who always hang out on the banks of the river. Monkeys and baboons greeted us as we approachd, and luckily for us, we remembered to get extra bananas at market so we could feed them a snack. The bridge we cross over the river on is now considered a military area. There are military officers guarding the area. Taking photos of or near military officers is strictly prohibited in Uganda. Opiro was able to speak with the officers and persuade them to let us photograph the river. I would have been quite disappointed had I not gotten to take photos in this beautiful spot.
I am currently ensconced in the guest house at Lacor Hospital ready to climb under my mosquito net and go to sleep. I am excited to finally be in Gulu and look forward to tomorrow’s work at the hospital.