The hybrid eclipse didn’t disappoint. It happened on November 3, as was predicted. It was amazing to see that the biggest percentage of the crowd were Ugandans – Ugandans whose trips were not sponsored by companies but who individually spent money and travelled to see the once in a lifetime event.
Improvising for eye gear
Like most awesome moments, the hybrid eclipse viewing was dramatic. Clearly, the media did a good job sensitising people on what eye gear was suitable. Everyone tried to get hold of the recommended eye gear – some wrongly used or based on myths.
Before long make-shift glasses with film negative strips were on sale going for Shs2,000. When someone said the media had rendered them unsafe, people stopped selling them. But with the authentic eclipse glasses going for a whopping Shs35,000 many had to improvise.
Soot on the sunglasses
Polythene bags and x-rays found their way to the streets. But what was interesting was those who insisted on using sunglasses. Knowing they were not safe, they bought small lamps (commonly known as tadoba) and candles and coated their sunglasses with many layers of soot. It was a popular Plan B.
It is evident why Owiny Primary School, Pakwach, was chosen as the official viewing place. There, the sun shines like those are its last moments on earth. As viewers bought bottle after another of water to quench their thirst, some people, men in particular decided to either undress or dip their outfits in water and wore them again. And in no time the clothes would be dry.
Clouds, clouds go away
Even though it was mostly scorching hot in Pakwach, at about 4.30pm, it became cloudy, and for a long time. Viewers had already seen the start of but not the total eclipse that everyone had come to witness.
Prior to the D-day, there had been jokes about the possibility of a no-eclipse show. One couldn’t help worry about the possibility of not seeing the total eclipse because of the clouds – the beautiful sky was no compensation. Viewers even started praying for the sun and moon to reappear.
One tourist with his face lifted to the heavens, started blowing away the clouds furiously until they made way for the sun and moon. Shortly after, the sun and the moon met. It was dark for a couple of seconds - the sky black with outstanding sparkling orange rings. It was beautiful – the viewers cheerfully clapped and screamed as if to congratulate the sun and the moon for a great achievement.