Thursday, October 17, 2013

Traveling to Bundibugyo

A diesel-fuel high made my ears ring as I contemplated how many people in Uganda died from such daily inhalation only to blame the likes of pneumonia or ulcers. Our eventual bus departure was met with great relief and a few aspirin. The journey was relatively uneventful given my recent trip to Congo, though no disappointment crossed these lips. After passing through the surprisingly large town of Fort Portal, the topography changed dramatically. The formerly lush green rolling hills gave way to far reaching mountains.

On this day ominous clouds hid the peaks of the Rwenzori mountains bordering the Great Rift Valley. Bordering DR Congo and sharing Lake Albert, Bundibugyo is rich with moist air and a variety of thick green vegetation, particularly given that this is rainy season. Stark contrasts play with my mind as I enjoy the freshly paved roads, mile markers, painted lines, guard rails, and road signs. Can I really still be in Uganda? Alighting at the taxi park, the end of the route, I waited for what would be a broadly smiling face to meet me. Bishop Hannington arrived on a boda with Pastor Timothy and gave up his seat so that I could join them all at their home.

That modern road system is juxtaposed against stick and mud houses made in the traditional fashion. Those who are less fortunate build their homes with what they find around them, crooked tree branches and clay mud gathered after the rains. Dried grass often protects the occupants from the elements. The Bishop’s house, like those who are only slightly more financially secure, was built with clay bricks made from the ground just outside the door and covered with a plaster mixture requiring the purchase of cement and sand.

A warm Ugandan welcome followed that long journey.