A nine-day thrill in eastern Uganda
Posted Sunday, August 24 2014 at 01:00
Being a part of the anti-corruption caravan Action Aid team that visited various districts in eastern Uganda last week to report cases on corruption, Esther Oluka found out a few exciting things on her nine-day trip.
As much as I was working, I found the expedition exciting because I had the opportunity to travel to major trading centres and over six districts in the eastern region in a space of nine days.
Since I come from Kumi District, I was at ease because I knew we were going to spend the next days in my native region. We set off from Kampala on August 6. We left at 8pm in a convoy led by a police pick up. I sat with journalists from other media houses in an omnibus. The traffic flowed since the two lead pick ups were clearing the way.
First destination, Kotido
We arrived in Kotido at about 9pm. By this time, most of us were exhausted. So, we had to get places of accommodation and then retired to bed immediately. The following day, a rally was organised within Kotido Town for the locals to go and address any corruption-related scandals. I attended half the session and took a walk around the town.
Sights of women clad in very colourful rounded skirts and bead necklaces were irresistible.
Achayo, one of the girls I spoke to said she could have a skirt made for me at only Shs40,000. “I charge that much because the material is durable and you can wear the skirt to any function,” she explained. She asked for Shs30,000 to get for me bead necklaces. Since I did not have the money at the time, I begged to be excused and left.
Meanwhile, January Agaba, a 21-year-old man whom we had travelled with had to keep most of the locals especially children entertained as he walked and danced using his stilts.
This did not last as we had to move and make stopovers at Abim, Amuria and Obalanga trading centres. Then, spent the next three days in Soroti, Katakwi and Kumi districts. There was not much to take note of.
On day six of the journey, we headed to Kapchorwa town. Unlike the other districts that we had visited, this was unique. Firstly, it is located right at the top of a higher landscape. Therefore, driving towards the town, we could all see what was at the lower landscape including huts and people.
We gladly caught sight of the beautiful green landscape, the big chunky rocks as well as the breath-taking Sipi Falls which most of us scrambled to take pictures of.
The biting chilly weather kept me dying to get indoors as soon as we arrived. And even after getting a nest, I could hardly sleep. This was despite the fact that I wore two thick sweaters, a pair of jeans and socks as I tucked in.
The next day, as afternoon drew nearer, the sun rays kissed us good morning. But even with the sun out, some of us still wore our warm clothing. Later, we headed to Mbale town which surprisingly was warm. Then on day eight, we proceeded to Tirinyi and Namutumba trading centres. Finally, on day nine, we visited Iganga town which happened to be quite busy and crowded.
In this particular district, it looked like one could easily collide with someone either riding a bicycle or walking down the street because of the narrow roads. The following day, after the tiresome but thrilling nine day tour in the whole eastern region, we headed back to Kampala.
What to carry for a week’s trip
• Heavy clothing is a must. For instance if you are going to a cold region such as Kapchorwa, carry a sweater or jacket in order to protect yourself from the cold.
• Ensure that you have enough money at hand. This is because you never know what you may need to buy while on the journey. Also, you do not want to get stuck somewhere simply because a certain place has no provision for ATM services.
• Carry your own prescribed medication because you never know when a headache or stomach ache might pop up.