Sunday, September 14, 2008

11-Sep-08 (I forgot all day that it was 9/11)

Kampala, Uganda. 7 a.m. Driving to Kitgum.

It’s way hillier here than in The Gambia. (It’s like Pennsylvania!) There’s the same plastic Chinese import crap everywhere. There are way more guns everywhere, and more people dressed in “Western” clothes. Cows have ridiculously long horns! Like, three feet long! Babies are everywhere. People drive on the left side of the road! It’s lush and verdant. The bananas that I had for breakfast were small and really sweet and delicious.

When we crossed the Nile, the border into the North, T (who’s driving us) said that, “Before, you needed an escort to drive past here – but it’s over a year now that it’s safe”. He says that the rebels got a lot of their funding from The Sudan and Somalia, and that the rebels used to be everywhere.

It’s illegal to photograph the bridge across The Nile. Used to be, this was because of safety issues, so that the rebels couldn’t blow it up or something. Now, it’s still illegal, but there’s no sign up. So the cops wait till the tourists stop and photograph the bridge, and then they get bribes. Government soldiers benefited from the war, too. From the allocation of funds.

We passed one village where the whole population seemed to be waiting out on the street, and a “Wildlife Authority” truck was parked nearby. T said that their may have been a lion spotted or something.

T says that “Culturally, in the North, the girls and women do all the work and the men just sit around and drink”. J’s response to that: “I should move here, then!”

My new Acholi words:
· Co-pang-oh: How are you?
· Co-pay: I’m okay!

I keep spying all these little faces through the windows of this van. Are they “children” or are they “War-Affected Children”?

We’ve passed a few IDP camps. I’ve used my first pit latrine of the trip. It’s funny how words like “Claustrophobia” pop into my head here with the same frequency as words like “Savannah” and “Vista”. There’s no in between, though.

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