Sunday, January 2, 2011

Homes in Bugiri

Off the dirt road, deeper into the residential countryside, away from where the Kitodha Mercy Women gathered for our welcoming party. Our skillful drivers took us one-by-one through various clay trails leading to clusters of mud huts. The paths were so narrow in some places that the saw grass and groundcover snapped and cut at our legs and feet. Adding to the complicated routes was the slick mud left by the previous day’s rain, which meant riding the sliver-wide edge of the skinny dry space hoping not to slide down into the mire. One of the three boda men skillfully navigated the labyrinth leading to each child sponsor candidate with only a little help from the local pastor.

I was struck by how similar these homes were to the ones found in Karamoja. One hut was used for sleeping, one for cooking and others that I was not entirely certain of their purpose. Each family group had several huts clustered together. Like rooms in a home each hut served a different purpose. The landscape was lush, thick, and green, unlike in Karamoja where the landscape struggled to resemble something green and was very scarce spare aloe plants. Unlike Karamoja too, no thorny fences were needed to keep out nighttime raiders. Further, Bugiri is a 3-hour drive from Kampala and Karamoja is a 12-hour drive. Remoteness adds a layer of sheltering from modern society.

The outdoor kitchen for a family of four. Four cups, four bowls, a water can, and a basin. Many families use their Ugandan utensils (fingers) to eat and thus silverware is a luxury. Each morning when I go for a walk, I see women straight legged bending at the waist to wash their breakfast dishes. Before they begin, though, water is hauled from a dirty pond or a well, depending on access. The families in Bugiri are no exception. Notice the thick greenery in the background. Bugiri is full of lush vegitation and the people in the area are good farmers.