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Humanitarian Aid in Gulu

Searching for Connections...Finding Some ☺

sunny 29 °C
View CONTACT Uganda 2016 on Peliroja's travel map.

I have trouble loading pictures in the time I have with good Internet so they will have to come later...

This morning I was able to take my time getting up as Joseph was picking me up and I told Aludi I had stuggled for good sleep the night before.  I think they only have three or four guests here and the man wearing the most dazzling vest and helped me with my bags ran to be of service to make my omelette. There wasn't any juice but I had eaten so very much the day before that I was happy with just an omelette and 2 cups of Masala Tea.

Since I had learned that no electricity could mean that there'd be no warm water, I asked my new friend how I could get some warm water. He offered to boil some so that I could use the bucket. That sounded much better to me than a cold shower. I got ready and Joseph picked me up at 10.

His job was to take me around so that I might catch a picture of all the NGOs in the town...I had asked Aludi about it in order to have an idea where services were in case we could connect with one which wasn't Christian. I found so very many but we never found the Red Crescent nir the Lions Club...however, I found the Rotary.

I think I must have been down every road in Gulu, even a back road which gave a gorgeous view. I found it interesting that there were some roads which had wonderful sidewalks that were much safer than the side of the road I often saw people walking along which looked so incredibly dangerous. Joseph told me that the sidewalks were built by the Chinese.  Money received from Western countries was used to pay the Chinese because they offered the lowest price. The problem with that, in my mind, was, why wouldn't they make them here? One thing that Uganda has is red dirt which they use to make bricks but Joseph said that the machines the Chinese use to make them produce thousands at a time and Uganda doesn't have the machines...seems to me, there'd be more jobs if the money were invested in the machines and locals did the work...

During our ride, I found Hotel California...
This sign is...20160330_112104-1-1.jpg
In this picture 20160330_112104-1.jpg

Another interesting find was the railroad tracks. Apparently, the war prevented their use and the tracks have never been fixed for use again...it seems this could also help the people help themselves...

I arrived back at Caritas by 12 noon and hung out in the office. I was ready for some down time and uploading photos. I was very warm but so was everybody. 😊 Aludi had to wait for a call, from a woman from  an organization which would be providing fellowships to people chosen by a team here so they could have training in Peace and Justice, at 3pm. Since I'd eaten so very much the day before, I refused to take my free ride to a restaurant alone and preferred to wait til Aludi and Father Felix finished chatting with her.

One thing we were finally able to do was get in touch with our CONTACT 2005 friend, Ngoya. Through the course of the conversation, Aludi agreed that we would travel to see him in Kotido on Friday before returning to Kampala at night. I looked at the map of Uganda in his Administrative Assistant's office and couldn't believe my eyes! We would be traveling almost the whole of Eastern Uganda in one day! As well, he had promised to take me to a national park that he said was 2 hours away from Gulu tomorrow!

Gearing up for a long few days, I responded to our CONTACT 2005 friend, Chrissie, who had requested I come over the weekend and said that Saturday would be absolutely impossible...I would need at least one day of rest. By the end of a few messages back and forth, the next few days' plans were set: Thursday-Murchison Falls National Park, Friday-Kotido and then to a small town further East to meet Ngoya before heading back to Kampala, Saturday-resting in Kampala, Sunday-ride to Fort Portal, Tuesday-return to Kampala, Wednesday-meet with Red Crescent, Plan International and Rose's NGO before...Thursday-flying back to Dubai...I hoped I'd feel rested before starting school again! 😯

I spent my time writing and posting pictures while they chatted but I heard some of the challenges they had. Some things I have learned from the past few days about Aludi was that he had been in South Sudan from 2006-2008 working as part of the peace and reconciliation commission after the war. He represented Caritas at the table and helped provide rebels with needs, like clean water, throughout the process. One of the issues they come across now is that many of the people who work in NGOs in the area have, at some point, worked with Caritas in some form or fashion. Mostly it was because, throughout the war and after, Caritas tended to be one of the only support systems here in Gulu because other organizations couldn't justify the security risk. As a result, when people who have now worked in other agencies but had worked with Caritas many years before, from the outside it looks like there is some sort of Nepotism going on.

I was humbled for sure. Listening to the stories Aludi told me of the days when the curfew to be in one's home was 4pm and the area near the hotel where I had stayed the first night was considered off limits altogether nine years ago...even after I had come to know him through CONTACT 2005. He also talked of the times when the halls of that office tended to be empty more often than not...this whole region is suffering from PTSD in a way that requires so much  more support than he can do with the work he does as a board member to several organizations.

I pray that the training that they hope to send people to the training proves successful.

I had been quiet the entire conversation but while they were saying theur goodbyes, I began to laugh and she asked who it was. I came to say hello and after Aludi explained our connection, she asked if we knew the Karuna Center and Olivia Drier. We laughed as the founder of Karuna Center, Paula, had been our professor and Olivia had been Aludi's advisor for our Graduate Certificate course...and I had promised Olivia an update after I returned from Uganda. ☺ She said that Olivia was right next door so  I asked her to send my love.

If anyone thinks there's a small world on the ground, they can't imagine the SIT/Conflict Transformation world...💜

After they were able to finish the call, we sat about chatting with my namesake Lanyero...but I was beyond ready for eating as it was close to 5pm. We closed up shop , drove a few staff members home and went to a place called The Kitchen. I devoured cassava, peas, mutton in sauce, something that reminds me of sauerkraut, potatoes and some greens of some sort.

We came back in time for a downpour and thistime I left the door open to catch the cool air inside my room...especially since my attempt to keep air coming in during the day was thwarted because the maid closed it. I rested in the cool of the fan and the cooled air from the rain before Aludi picked me up at 8pm to go eat. 

We returned to the Ethiopian restaurant where I simply had soup and he had his meal. I wished to splurge on a Smirnoff vodka but there wasn't any so I went with what was supposedly South African red wine. I guess, hanging out with so very many priests over a few days, it was extremely appropriate that the wine tasted like communion wine. Aludi noted that if I truly wanted it to taste like communion wine, I should put water in it. 😊

From there we went to hang out with some of his friends as he often does. The owner/friend's last name was Caro. In the local language, it is pronounced 'charro' which, of coursehas a completely different eccentric connotation but I mused that his name meant Expensive in Spanish. At the previous place, I noted that an alcoholic beverage had the name of my Ecuadorian ex, Alvaro...

...so Aludi told me I should order one from Caro, I mean it was only fitting. ☺

He wished to take me out longer but I think the long, hot days (even when I was in an air conditioned car for a couple of hours) was draining this Irish/Polish-blooded woman...so I returned home and was blessed with a full night of electricity so a full night of a fan to provide me a good night's sleep. I wanted to truly enjoy the park the next day.

Posted by Peliroja 22:50 Archived in Uganda Tagged gulu

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